Workers' union opposes plan to retire elderly county employees

Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja when he met with County Workers for routine updates at Cityhall on August, 29, 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

A workers' union has opposed a plan to retire elderly Nairobi county government employees.

Festus Ngari, the secretary general of the Nairobi branch of the Kenya County Government Workers Union, said the plan will disadvantage those targeted.

"This could turn out to be discriminative against employees who served in the previous regime," said Ngari, just days after the county assembly passed a motion to introduce a voluntary early retirement programme.

“The programme goes against employment laws because when a person retires before the required age, they lose benefits. The plan should be handled carefully,” said Ngari who also accused the county government of not remitting Sh42 billion meant for pensions.

"If that happens, then the county government must ensure all the accrued workers' benefits are not lost. In our case, the county government has not remitted about Sh42 billion to various schemes.”

Ngari said the voluntary early retirement plan could affect about 3,000 workers and warned that the Sh100 million the county said it would allocate to the plan would not be sufficient.

The early voluntary retirement proposal was tabled by Umoja 1 MCA Mark Mugambi who argued that for the county to deliver on its mandate, it requires energetic people, who are also conversant with technology. 

Mugambi said 60 per cent of the current county workforce estimated at 14,000, is between 50 and 60 years old. He also said that about 651 officers would be retiring.

The MCA also claimed that about 25 per cent of county staff have been slowed down by ill health and alcohol addiction.

"That is why we need to facilitate their early retirement benefits and encourage a dignified early retirement," he said.

But the union argues that some employees who have slipped into alcoholism are protected by law just like those who have been slowed down by ill health and old age, and suggets that the government should open rehab centres.