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City Hall strikes Sh540m deal to avert staff boycott

City chiefs have agreed to pay Sh540 million in the next two weeks to avert a Kenya County Government Workers Union strike that was to start Wednesday.

After two days of consultations, the union and the county government reached an agreement to have the workers arrears paid in two instalments of Sh270 million each, one on Friday this week and the next on January 23.

The county government inherited Sh1.6 billion in arrears from the defunct City Council and the latest payment will clear the long-standing claim that has been the cause of strike threats by workers.

“We would have wanted to be paid in lump sum but the county government has proved that it is facing cash flow problems,” Moyale MP and the union’s Secretary-General Roba Duba said.

STRIKE POSTPONED

He, however, said that the strike had only been postponed and would start if the county government reneged on its word.

The county government would also issue a circular withdrawing the directive on workers to sign the Secret Act, which the union had opposed.

The workers have also won back a joint workers and staff forum. In its absence, the union claims, the county government took unilateral disciplinary action on its members.

“Workers have been sacked, interdicted and suspended without consulting the union. We need the joint forum to discuss these issues,” Nairobi branch Secretary-General Benson Olianga said.

The workers also pushed the county government to pay Sh2 million each day from January 23 to offset the outstanding Local Authorities Pension Trust (Laptrust) and Local Authorities Provident Fund (Lapfund) contributions.

The administration is expected to pay Sh60 million to Laptrust and Sh29 million to Lapfund each month.

“We can understand arrears accrued in the past decades but there is no reason why we should fall back under the new dispensation,” Mr Roba said.

Nairobi owes Sh5 billion to Laptrust and Sh2.5 billion to Lapfund, which include huge penalties from retirement benefit schemes.