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Pay rise should mean better work, few strikes

By The Standard | February 2nd 2017

An unprecedented wave of industrial action has hit the country lately. From striking teachers to nurses, from doctors to university lecturers, it has all been about remuneration.

There is a general feeling within the country’s workforce that remuneration is not commensurate with the work done and does not factor in things like inflation and the rising cost of living.

Indeed, the prices of commodities have been so unpredictable; always on the upward swing and most families can hardly afford a square meal a day.

In October 2016, the Union of Kenya Civil Servants gave its demands for pay review before August 2017. This demand was emboldened by the deal, after a protracted strike, that teachers managed to squeeze out of the Government. The last time pay for civil servants was reviewed was in 2012.

The creation of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in 2010 was meant to harmonise the salaries of all civil servants. SRC needed time to carry out job evaluations and in November 2016 gave its recommendations. This was necessary in dealing with the lack of a centralised framework for pay determination that led to the disparities that have over year’s fuelled industrial action.

Public Service Commission Chairperson, Prof Margaret Kobia, has given civil servants an assurance the Government would effect a pay rise for all civil servants at the national and county governments in July this year.

This is welcome news and hopefully the Government will come through. After negotiating a pay deal recently and resuming work, nurses have complained they are yet to be paid.

The expectation riding on the new pay is that civil servants, notorious for absenteeism, will be able to deliver competent service to the public.

Strikes affect workers as much as the economy and there is need to keep them at a bare minimum, better still, eliminate them completely.

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