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Council hires casuals to replace striking workers

NYERI
By - JOB WERU | May 14th 2013

By JOB WERU

Nyeri,Kenya:But workers’ union secretary says negotiations are still going on for them to resume work

The fate of striking workers at the Nyeri Municipal Council appeared sealed as recruitment of new employees started.

The over 300 workers who have defied a directive to return to work were shocked when they arrived for the daily sit ins at the Town Hall only to find tens of youths lining up ready for job interviews.

It was the second week of work boycott by the employees who are demanding salary arrears amounting to over Sh90 million.

Job seekers jammed the Nyeri governor’s offices for the interviews, which were scheduled for yesterday, even as the striking workers continued with their sit in within the same compound.

The workers downed their tools after they claimed the Local Authority owed them five months’ salary arrears. County Principal Finance Secretary Richard Kimani said the county government was losing about Sh200 million daily.

“We are faced with a crisis due to the ongoing strike and we decided to take measures to curb the situation. We have decided to take casual workers in revenue and cleaning departments,” said Kimani.

So far, the public has started complaining over the unhygienic state and heaps of garbage in most areas.

At the same time, some motorists and business people have been having a field day because they have not been paying tax to the council.

Mr Kimani said meetings organised between the Government and the workers’ union had agreed the workers would resume work as they await a supplementary budget that was to be taken to the County Assembly to facilitate payment.

“We advised them to get back to work as the County Assembly passes a supplementary budget to facilitate the payment, or the funds be factored in the 2013/14 budget, since paying the whole sum of arrears would have a negative impact on service delivery,” said Kimani.

No salaries

The finance secretary said the arrears were as a result of a ruling given by the Industrial Court last September, which compelled the Local Government Ministry to honour a Collective Bargaining Agreement awarding salary increment to the workers.

But Kimaru Maina, the secretary of Council Workers Union said negotiations were going on for them to resume work, but noted that the Nyeri county government overstepped its mandate by calling for applications from job seekers.

“We have not gotten salaries for the last five months and that is why we decided not to work,” said Maina.

He regretted that the county secretary had invited people for interviews to replace revenue collection workers. He, however, welcomed the move to employ more people, saying they will be deployed to other townships.


 

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