City Hall interdicts 500 striking staff

By Cyrus Ombati

Nairobi, Kenya: The Nairobi County Government has interdicted more than 500 employees, for allegedly taking part in an unlawful strike.

Also suspended were the union members, who have allegedly been making frantic efforts to meet Governor Evans Kidero for a truce after a warrant of arrest was issued against them for defying the court order stopping the strike.

The Kenya County Government Workers Union Nairobi County branch Secretary General Festus Ngare confirmed Thursday that he had received a ‘show cause letter’ but he remained defiant that their demonstrations were legal.

Ngare claimed that they had not been served officially with a court order by Industrial Court Judge Maureen Onyango, adding that he was shocked to read in the press that they had gone into hiding.

Services paralysed

Ngare said the “peaceful procession and assembly will continue as guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya, Article 41.”

Police used teargas canisters to disperse them on Tuesday. Services have been paralysed since then.

“The court order was very clear that failure to turn up for work could lead to summary dismissal and we have just started taking stock of the employees who did not report to work. The first batch of 500 has been suspended, including the union officials,” the Interim County Secretary Lillian Ndegwa said Thursday.

She added that City Hall was engaging private contractors and youth groups to clean the city.

The workers went on strike last Tuesday in order to compel the county government to implement a Collective Bargaining Act dated September 1, 2012.

 But the county government insists it was not party to the pact.