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Civil servants still want more

NAIROBI, August 15 – The Kenya Union of Civil Servants said Friday that it was in the process of initiating fresh negotiations with the government to push for better allowances; barely a day after the workers got a historic pay rise.

Despite government’s move to raise their basic salary by between 109 and 160 percent, Secretary General Tom Odege told Capital News that the union was dissatisfied with the failure by the government to review their commuter, medical and housing allowances.

“When you read the code of regulations, the government took upon itself to provide transport to workers from their residence to their places of work, which has not been the case,” Odege voiced.

“The last review of housing was in 2001; there are so many increases which have been witnessed from 2001 to date.”

The adjustments announced by Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno cover unionised members in job groups ‘A to L’ and will cost the state an additional Sh3 billion. The Minister who cited that the raises were limited by budgetary constraints however steered clear of the allowances.

The increment is in line with the ongoing salary harmonisation program, which is part of a wider initiative of ensuring competitiveness in the civil service.

The new perks the Minister indicated were meant to motivate officers in the junior and middle cadres.

Odege nevertheless confirmed that they were in agreement with the Minister that he would be in contact with his office next week for the negotiations.

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Already teachers have voiced concerns on the discrepancies in the remuneration of public servants. A committee set by the Education Ministry to come up with recommendations for the harmonisation is yet to report its findings.

Last month Prime Minister Raila Odinga promised the trainers that the government was committed to the review and promised hasten the matter.

The Secretary General nevertheless welcomed the adjustments of the annual salary scales.

He noted that the new measures are crucial in ensuring meaningful increments for workers.

“You will find that an increment somebody was to wait for 20 years to get she can as well get it in 5 years,” Odege intimated.

The Union has been pushing for the increases for the last two years. In the last financial year Finance Minister Amos Kimunya, who cited budgetary constraints, allocated Sh2 billion for salary reviews for the entire civil service, which was a drop in the ocean.

Since 2003 the government has doubled and at times tripled the perks of most of its officers.

Teachers, security forces, provincial administrators and judicial officers have all benefited from the attractive packages.

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