City Hall workers threaten to go on strike
Normal operations at Nairobi County government could be paralysed starting next week with county workers threatening to down their tools.
This comes after the county staff union issued a seven-day strike notice to City Hall on Monday, January 27 giving Governor Mike Sonko’s administration up to February 4 to sort out their grievances or face total disruption of services.
At the heart of the workers’ grievances include unremitted pension deductions, stalled promotions and right placements, re-designations, lack of remittance of retirees’ benefits and off-duty days and payment of overtime allowances.
Other complaints are of refund of tuition fees, work injury compensation, departmental structures, staff uniforms and resolution of pending disciplinary cases.
“Whereas we have desired not to disrupt delivery of services to Nairobi residents, it has come a time when workers must all stop working so as to pursue their welfare… We hereby call upon all Nairobi County workers to adequately prepare to assemble at City Hall starting February 4, 2020 and to continue doing so until advised otherwise by the leadership of this union,” a letter by Kenya County Government Workers Union Nairobi branch officials reads in part.
The letter is signed by the Union’s Nairobi branch officials Benson Olianga and Boniface Waweru and is addressed to acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat and Nairobi County Public Service Board CEO.
The officials warned that most county establishments such as City Mortuary, hospitals and health centres, Early Childhood Development Centres, City Hall and City Hall Annex as well as parking services.
“All residents of Nairobi are advised to keep off all county establishments since there will be total paralysis of all services offered by the county. Residents are, however, notified of availability of free parking slots throughout the city,” said the officials.
Reached for comment, Mr Morintat said the issues raised by the county staff are being addressed and promotion letters would be released to the workers in due time.
“The welfare of staff is paramount to us and I have instructed the Director of Human Resource and urged the County Public service board to sit down so that they can discuss the issue,” said Mr Morintat.
On matters promotion, the workers have accused City Hall of reneging on a planned promotion of the workers even after promising to effect the same by January 7, 2020.
“We requested for a meeting to deliberate on this crucial matter but the said request was either ignored or declined for unknown reasons. The promotions were not done as you had promised,” said Mr Olianga.
Last year in November, acting Health Executive Vesca Kangogo announced City Hall had approved 2, 153 health workers including the nurses and the clinical officers for promotion as well as re-designation in a bid to avert a similar strike called for by the aggrieved workers.
That was after Governor Sonko directed that all eligible workers be promoted within 7 days, and all officers whose job titles do not match with their current designations be re-designated.
On disciplinary cases, the officials fingered the Board for being an impediment to the timely resolution of disciplinary cases as meetings by the Board to clear the pending cases having stalled due to lack of quorum.
“The Board has blatantly failed its mandate as provided for under Section 59(1) of the County Government Act,” said Mr Waweru.
The officials also criticised the county for failing to address the other grievances accusing Sonko’s administration of not taking the plight of workers seriously.
“With respect to other grievances we had raised, nothing worth smiling about has been achieved so far. Workers have continued to suffer and their working conditions have equally declined tremendously,” he said.