HOSPITALS WORST HIT

Services disrupted in counties as strike bites

Salaries have not been paid due to standoff over Division of Revenue Bill

In Summary

• Workers have vowed to stay away from their work stations until their salaries are paid.

• But there is no end in sight in the stalemate between Senate and National Assembly.

Former Treasury cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich with the budget briefcase outside Treasury
Former Treasury cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich with the budget briefcase outside Treasury
Image: FILE

Services in some counties were paralysed on Tuesday after workers downed their tools to demand payment of their delayed July salaries.

Workers went on strike in Taita Taveta, Kitui, Kisumu and Homa Bay and vowed to stay away until their grievances are addressed.

Workers in Kilifi county however shelved their plans at the last minute after a communication was sent out to all staff promising them they will receive their pay this week.

 

County workers had been warned of tough days ahead following a stalemate between the National Assembly and the Senate in passing the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.

The Bill spells out the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments for the current financial year.

The Senate wants counties to get Sh335 billion from Treasury but the National Assembly has maintained that figure should be Sh316 billion.

In Taita Taveta, the health department was the most affected as nurses, doctors, dentists and other health workers joined the strike.

The workers assembled at Dawson Mwanyumba Stadium in Wundanyi before staging a demonstration outside Governor Granton Samboja’s office.

Reuben Matolo, Kenya National Union of Nurses acting secretary for Taita Taveta, said only emergency services were being offered at health facilities.

"We cannot survive without salaries. The government should be prepared for tough times because we shall not resume duties until we are paid," Matolo said.

 

The workers said the government had deliberately delayed their salaries and that it should find an alternative source of funds to pay them.

Acting county Finance and Planning executive Davis Mwangoma while addressing the workers said the county was facing a serious financial crisis since local revenue could not pay salaries.

"The revenue we collect is very minimal. We need at least Sh200 million monthly to pay salaries yet we only collect close to Sh20 million per month,” the executive said.

In Kitui, about 1,500 workers downed their tools to protest non-payment of their July salaries.

Officials of the Kitui branch of the Kenya County Government Workers Union led by chairman Kitheka Kwanda emerged from a closed meeting at around 10.30am and declared an immediate work boycott by members.

In Kisumu, KCGWU branch secretary Rashid Ondu said they will not resume duties until there salaries are paid and statutory deductions backdated by three months.

Ondu said delay in remitting the salary was a violation of workers’ rights as enshrined in theConstitution.

The situation was similar in Homa Bay, where local union officials had given the county government a five-day strike notice.

“We agreed with our employer to be paid before 25th of every month but it has failed to comply,” said Tom Akech, the local union chairman.

Kilifi county secretary Arnold Mkare said everything was in order in the area and workers were at their respective stations.

“We are not going to have any strike in Kilifi. Everything is in order. We have a memorandum of understanding with all the leadership of different workers unions in the county and we are paying all our workers by Wednesday,” Mkare said.