DECEMBER-JANUARY MISERY

Mombasa health workers strike over late December pay

No work till there's money in their account, they decry series of delays and hardships.

In Summary

• All Mombasa county workers deplore late December salaries.

• Health workers at the county refuse to work until when they see money in their accounts.

Mombasa Health workers have gone on strike over delayed December salaries.

It is also clear that all the Mombasa county workers have not yet been paid their December salaries.

Speaking to the star, Kenya County Government Workers Union Mombasa secretary general Hajj Mwinyi said there has been no explanation for the late salaries.

“Up to now, there is no official communication from the Finance office as to why there are delays in our salaries,” Mwinyi said.

Mwinyi said a meeting is scheduled for today to decide what to do.

Heath workers decided to walk off the job until they are paid.

They said they cannot pay school fees, buy all the new school essentials and uniforms. They can't pay rent or matatu fare to work.

They say they were patient with late November salaries.They said they have an agreement with the Mombasa county government to be paid by the 5th of every month.

They also agreed with the county government that if it reaches 5th and they are not paid, then they will walk out.

Health workers also complain that NHIF remittances are not paid on time, which means they can't get hospital services. KRA deductions are not remitted to KRA, which means penalties for some. There are issues of insurance premiums and promotions have not been effected for five years.

Addressing journalists outside Coast General Hospital, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board deputy secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda said salaries inconsistencies have been occurring every month.

“We were here in August last year, and then salaries for November were paid on the 20th of December. Today is the eighth of  January and December salaries have not been paid. Those December salaries have actually been deducted, they are less an annual leave allowance for all workers,” Mwachonda said.

County Executives' contracts ended last year but Mwachonda said the county government could have come up with a way to handle their issues and that should not be a reason for their delayed salaries.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Mombasa branch Peter Maroko said they are ready to go to work immediately they are paid.

Maroko said they had a sitting with the county government and were told there is no money to pay them.

“If you are told by your employee that they do not have money to pay you, that is not a solution, the solution is to pay. Salaries should be seen in the bank accounts of the workers, then they will go back to work,” he said.

Maroko said they will give directions on what they will do next as soon as they are paid but for now, they are off the job.

Mombasa Communication Director Richard Chacha, however, said that delays in paying salaries are not the county government's making and that they are only two days late from paying the salaries. They expect mone from the Treasury. e

"We are only two days late, It's not a crisis so they should just understand," Chacha said.

(Edited by V. Graham)