UNPAID SALARIES

850 county casual workers to be paid in June, says Sonko

City Hall is on the spot for failing to pay at least Sh62 million to the casual workers.

In Summary

• On Monday, a section of the workers held protests in Soweto over the unpaid salaries, urging the County Government to pay them amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

• According to data from the Spokesman, each casual worker was earning Sh653 daily.

Faiza Karaza , a Nairobi County casual worker protesting at Soweto Soacila hall over non payment by City Hall on May 18, 2020
Faiza Karaza , a Nairobi County casual worker protesting at Soweto Soacila hall over non payment by City Hall on May 18, 2020
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

City Hall is on the spot for failing to pay at least Sh62 million to 850 casual workers in Nairobi.

The workers drawn from 85 wards had been contracted to engage in the unclogging drainages, beautification programme and garbage collection.

On Monday, a section of the workers held protests in Soweto over the unpaid salaries, urging the County Government of Nairobi to pay them amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

 
 

The Star established that the casuals were contracted last year in April to unclog drainages within Nairobi for a Sh30,000 monthly pay.

Fazia Karaz, who hails from Utawala is a widow and a mother of three said that the County ward administrators are the ones who contracted them.

“We signed the contractors through our ward administrators and told not to append signatures only give details on the Identification card and phone numbers. When we started in April we were told we will be on probation for three months before getting permanent jobs but still get paid, “ she explained.

Faiza Karaza and Freda Gisare, Nairobi County casual worker protesting at Soweto Soacila hall over non payment by City Hall on May 18, 2020
Faiza Karaza and Freda Gisare, Nairobi County casual worker protesting at Soweto Soacila hall over non payment by City Hall on May 18, 2020
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

According to Karaz, last year in May, casuals were paid Sh30,000.

In June it decreased to Sh 15,000 and in July Sh 16,000 which was the last month City Hall paid them.

Last year in August, the casuals raised concerns on the underpayment and claimed City Hall stated that they were doing ‘voluntary’ work.

“Some of us closed down our small businesses knowing that having a contract with the county was better. We sensed trouble when they told us we had been working voluntarily, yet we had contracts with the ward administrators,” said Justus Owino, a Tasia resident.

On August 27, 2019, Governor Mike Sonko held a meeting with the casual workers at City Stadium where they were urged to progress with the work as they will be paid accordingly.

 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the workers lament that living expenses in Nairobi has become demanding and want the county to own up and pay them.

Nairobi Governor Spokesman Ben Mulwa addressing the media at Upper Hill on May 18, 2020
Nairobi Governor Spokesman Ben Mulwa addressing the media at Upper Hill on May 18, 2020
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

In a press briefing at Upper hill, Governor Mike Sonko’s Spokesman Ben Mulwa, however, refuted claims that the non-payment was for nine months.

Instead, he accused the city ward reps who are at loggerheads with the Governor for fuelling the protests.

“ The Governor will not take threats from people who are fuelling these demonstrations for them to claim payment,” Mulwa said.

He further explained the county owed them only three months payment and as of December 2019 none of the casuals has been working.

According to data from the Spokesman, each casual worker was earning Sh653 daily and the contract was for three months but renewable.

Mulwa stated that the casuals cannot be paid until funds are properly appropriated in accordance with the law, confirming that the payments have been factored in the proposed supplementary budget.

“Once is the supplementary budget is passed and money amounting to Sh62 million will be discharged immediately without any delays,’ he said.

Nairobi Governor Spokesman Ben Mulwa addressing the media at Upper Hill on May 18, 2020
Nairobi Governor Spokesman Ben Mulwa addressing the media at Upper Hill on May 18, 2020
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

Chief Officer for Finance Halkano Waqo acknowledged the non-payment saying the casuals had been under-budgeted last year.

‘They have done good work done which is visible and they work in places where our capacity cannot reach. But the problem is we cannot pay them outside the budget,” he said.

Waqo however, said the County government has factored some payment for the casuals in an upcoming Supplementary Budget scheduled to be submitted to the assembly for consideration.