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8,000 bank workers to get pay rise after deal with union

Unionisable bank workers are set to get a pay raise after their employers agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), averting a strike that would have disrupted operations in most of the country’s 43 lenders.

The Banking Insurance and Finance Union of Kenya (Bifu) on Thursday reached an agreement with banks on minimum salary increases and changes in working terms backdated to March and lasting up to February 2017.

The changes include raising the gross starting salary for bank workers by seven per cent to Sh59,770, subject to another review next year.

“They accepted all our terms. We will sign the CBA on Tuesday,” said the Bifu organising secretary Tom Odero in an interview.

Some 8,000 unionised bank workers, including subordinate staff, supervisors, loan officers and tellers had resolved to go on strike from next week had the Thursday talks collapsed.

DEAL CONFIRMED

The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) confirmed that an agreement had been reached with the union, but declined to discuss details of the deal.

“Yes we agreed, striking a balance between the interests of employees and employers, there was a give-and-take,” said chief executive Habil Olaka.

Mr Olaka held that some of the union’s demands were altered to reach a compromise, but Mr Odongo insisted that all the union’s terms were accepted.

The talks, which started in December to replace a CBA signed two years ago, had collapsed on several occasions after the two parties differed on eight issues including new basic salaries and leave days.

Acceptance of Bifu’s terms means the benefits will now be backdated to March, when the new CBA takes effect, boosting the welfare of the unionised workers.

The union had proposed that the severance pay, currently at one month’s pay for every year worked, should be raised to one-and-a-half month’s pay.