, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – The Cabinet on Thursday formed a sub-committee to address ongoing public sector wage demands, while terming the ongoing strikes by civil servants as illegal.
During a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki at State House Nairobi, the government expressed concerns over the economic and legal impact of the strikes by civil servants.
“The committee will be chaired by the Minister for Public Service with membership of the Ministers for Labour, Education, Higher Education, Medical Services, Finance and the Attorney General,” a brief from the Presidential Press Service read.
The Cabinet committee is expected to sit on Friday to discuss the current public sector wage demands.
The government also asked public servants to obey court orders that have declared the strikes illegal and urged them to return to work.
Additionally, it advised civil servants to recognise that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) was established to deal with the public sector wage bill.
The public servants were also requested to honour the collective bargaining negotiations to ensure their demands fit within the government budget.
“Cabinet noted that there exists a stipulated constitutional and legal framework that has been supplemented with clear guidelines by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that is mandated,” the statement indicated.
The SRC last week intimated that it will complete the review process by June next year.
The public service has been hit by a spate of industrial actions by workers.
Primary and secondary school teachers downed their tools demanding allowances and a pay increase.
They were later joined by university lecturers and non-teaching staff.
On Thursday, doctors in public hospitals also downed their stethoscopes agitating for a pay increase.
The Cabinet urged the striking teachers to sympathise with pupils in public schools who are not learning while those in private schools are going on with their studies normally. It also called on doctors to live to their call of duty of saving lives and ensure that patients do not suffer.
“It was not fair that pupils in public schools were not learning while those in private schools were learning yet they will face the same syllabus and examinations. Cabinet also decried the suffering of patients who were not adequately catered for in public hospitals,” the statement added.