PSC cautions governors against arbitrarily suspending workers

August 23, 2017 4:30 pm
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Kobia told Capital FM News that there should be no reason for governors to put on hold the careers of the county workers on baseless grounds/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The Chairperson to the Public Service Commission Margaret Kobia has cautioned newly elected governors to follow due process before embarking on suspending any county employees.

Kobia told Capital FM News that there should be no reason for governors to put on hold the careers of the county workers on baseless grounds.

“Public servants have terms of service and if there is any reason to disrupt their career, a due process outlined in the labour laws must be followed,” said Kobia through a text message.

She however acknowledged that county workers who were illegally employed should start packing to pave way for a human resource audit.

With a fresh term in office, governors in different counties have taken a drastic stand to restructure their administrations with some already suspending county workers.

Tharaka Nithi has so far experienced the highest lay off with Governor Muthomi Njuki suspending 1, 061 workers in a move he claimed is aimed towards reducing the wage bill that currently stands at Sh200 million annually.

Speaking on a television interview on Tuesday, Njuki said the county is incurring a lot of expenses in meeting the needs of the county workers.

“The reason why we are lagging behind as a county in matters development is because we have a wage bill that is not sustainable, 65pc of the budget allocated to the county goes to paying workers. The action I took is justified,” said Njuki.

Of the close to 1,000 workers suspended in Tharaka Nithi, 660 are casual workers while another 289 were employed on open contracts and another 112 are substitute nurses who were employed to cover for the striking nurses.

County workers from Nairobi, Machakos and Meru have also fallen victim of the ongoing move by the governors to indefinitely suspend their county workers.

On Friday last week, Machakos Governor, Alfred Mutua suspended all finance officers in the county, a move he said would allow a through independent audit and suitability assessment of staff and financial systems of the County.

“The objective is to ensure that going forward ‘wananchi’ get value for money that has been entrusted on us,” said Mutua.

In Nairobi, Governor Mike Sonko was seemingly reading from the same script after he suspended the board of Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company following a one week workers’ strike.

The workers downed their tools after the board refused to renew contracts of the managing director and senior managers over alleged non-performance.

In Meru, Governor Kiraitu Murungi suspended members of the county executive to pave way for financial and human resource audit.

Those affected included the county secretary, county executive committee members, chief officers, directors of two county parastatals as well as sub county, ward and town administrators.

Central Organization of Trade Union Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has since vowed to sue the Governors who have suspended workers in their County governments.

According to labour laws, a governor can only hire and fire county executives, but only retains influence over other officials. The law also gives a County Public Service Board the power to make appointments and promotions of staff in the county public service.

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