PAY RISE

Public servants should be considerate of our economic hardships

Our economy is ailing and will take up to three years to recover

In Summary

• Trade unions led by Cotu have come out guns blazing and they now demand the reversal of the decision, or they bring down the entire public sector via a mother of all strikes.

• Calling for a strike right now would be unreasonable and will deny mwanachi, who is already feeling pinches of the economy, right to services you offer.

SRC chairperson Lyn Cherop Mengich on May 15, 2019.
WAGE BILL: SRC chairperson Lyn Cherop Mengich on May 15, 2019.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s move to freeze any pay hike for civil servants for the next two years, on account of Covid-19 pandemic effects on our economy, has not been welcomed.

Trade unions led by Cotu have come out guns blazing and they now demand the reversal of the decision, or they bring down the entire public sector via a mother of all strikes.

But come to think of it. What is the current state of our economy? The effects of Covid-19 pandemic are being felt everywhere. Millions of Kenyans in the private sector have lost their jobs and those that are lucky are subjected to pay cuts. The fact is that the economAy is devastated. Last year, our economy grew at 0.6 per cent, a reduction from 5.4 per cent in 2019. Tax revenues fell. Businesses were adversely affected.

Despite all this, the government still held on to its employees without any layoffs or pay cuts. The teachers, for example, continued being on payroll during the period the schools were closed.

The public wage bill grew from Sh615 billion in 2016 to Sh827 billion in 2019. In all this, allowances for civil servants take up to 48 per cent of the total wage bill.

The fact is, our economy is ailing and will take up to three years to recover. The upcoming general election has made things even worse. This is not the right time for unions to issue ultimatums.

They should instead reconsider their handline stances and urge public servants to belly up to the bar and support SRC’s efforts, which if implemented, will quicken economy recovery and could save us over Sh50 Billion, as well reduce the already bloated wage bill.

Calling for a strike right now would be unreasonable and will deny mwanachi, who is already feeling pinches of the economy, right to services you offer.

I, therefore, urge them to be considerate and wait for remuneration review after the said two years.

Muriira Brian, Juja