, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – About 800 retirees from the Nairobi City Council whose dues had not been paid for close to 10 years can now afford a smile after the council paid them arrears amounting to Sh75 million.
Nairobi Mayor Godfrey Majiwa said the workers who worked between 1999 and 2006 got their cheques on Monday while those who retired between 2007 and 2008 would get their cheques by March next year.
“Retirees always get their dues and benefits on time. Unfortunately this was not the case here but we should now thank God that we have paid off some of the dues,” he said.
Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia who was also present absolved himself for the payment irregularity and accused the previous regimes of being corrupt and of mismanaging funds.
“I have been here for six months not six years and this has been a very difficult balancing act. The previous management would get money to clear salary arrears and instead divert it to other uses,” he stated.
He however apologised for the delay and promised that all the cheques issued on Monday would be valid.
“Sometimes I get very embarrassed. You have cheques that have already been signed by all relevant authorities and then they bounce. I want to assure you that the cheques we have issued will not bounce,” he stated.
Mr Majiwa also cautioned the retirees against causing demonstrations and strikes further promising that they would all get their dues. He also pleaded with them to appreciate the effort shown by the council.
“As usual in Kenya even if you paid Sh200 million today and got late in making tomorrow’s payment (even by a day) people would forget the Sh200 million. I want to tell you that we have not forgotten that we still need to pay the other retirees. This is their right and I will make sure that they get it,” he said.
Meanwhile Secretary of the Retirees Union Benson Oriari accused the Town Clerk of ignoring their pleas to have retirees on temporary employment in the event that it (council) could not immediately pay their benefits in accordance with the council’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Rule 29 (e) of the CBA was to be enforced starting with retirees of 2008. Mr Clerk we have made many communications to your office in this respect and surprisingly you have not answered any of them,” he said.
He also asked the council’s management to keep its promises regarding the retirees and their dues saying that it would prevent unwarranted disgruntles among the retirees in the future.
“We do not want to turn our council into a battle field where employees and management engage in lengthy court cases. We suggest we embark in social dialoguing and propose we have the first meeting on or before December 18 this year. This is the best way forward especially for these retired wounds of the council,” he said.
Chairman of the Retirees Union Joseph Kamau asked the Mayor and the Clerk to make sure that Treasury paid them the remaining dues.
“Now that you have access to the President and the Prime Minister kindly let them know that we have suffered for a long time. We are asking them to simply go to the Treasury and give us our money so that we can retire in peace,” he stated.