DELAYED SALARIES

Health crisis looms as unions issue strike notice

As a result of the tussle over division of revenue between county and national governments.

In Summary

• Unions want all deductions made from employees' salaries remitted immediately.

• According to the trade unions, none of the 47 counties has paid its workers last month’s salaries.

Governors march to the KICC after presenting a petition to the Supreme Court seeking judicial intervention in interpreting the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 on July 15, 2019.
LIMBO: Governors march to the KICC after presenting a petition to the Supreme Court seeking judicial intervention in interpreting the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 on July 15, 2019.
Image: FAITH MUTEGI

A number of unions issued a strike notice on Friday, signalling additional suffering for patients.

Health workers have warned they will down their tools on August 16 should county governments fail to pay their July salaries.

Most county workers have not been paid their salaries following the National Assembly-Senate fight over the Division of Revenue Bill.

The unions were the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, the Kenya Health Professionals Society, the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Technologists and the Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists.

Officials said it is unfortunate that workers, who work hard daily to deliver services, are subjected to financial hardship.

“We are deeply concerned that most county governments have subjected our members to untold suffering due to withholding of salaries and non-remittance of deductions,” KUCO secretary general George Gibore said.

He said some members had already received notices from their landlords over rent arrears, while some could not afford fare to go to work.

“These delays in timely payment subject our members and their families to untold financial, social and emotional hardships which in the long run affect their productivity at the workplace,” Gibore said.

Their notice came two days after four other trade unions gave county governments seven days to pay their members' salaries, failing which they would withdraw their services.

They were Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union, Kenya County Workers Union, the Union of the Kenya Civil Servants and the Kenya Union of Nurses.

Counties are in financial limbo as the deadlock over the revenue bill persists.

The Commission on Revenue Allocation, which is constitutionally mandated to make recommendations on the sharing of revenue between the two levels of government, has had its proposals for county allocations consistently reduced by the National Assembly.

The stalemate between the two Houses means devolved units cannot receive cash to run their affairs.

The unions also want all deductions made from employees' salaries remitted immediately.

According to the trade unions, none of the 47 counties has paid its workers last month’s salaries.

 

They said any further delays will subjects workers to untold suffering as they will be unable to meet their basic needs.

“We cannot go and remove governors from their offices and throw them out. The only thing we can do is follow the law, take an action that will make them wake up from the slumberland,” KNUN secretary General Seth Panyako said.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya