NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Operations in 24 counties are set to grind to a halt on Tuesday as workers down their tools over delayed July salaries caused by the impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.
The standoff is as a result of failure by the National Assembly and Senate to agree on the amount of revenue to be allocated to counties.
12 counties had by Friday last week paid staff their July salaries with latest data by KCGWU indicating that 23 devolved units have since dispatched July salaries including Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson Wycliffe Oparayanga’s Kakamega and Nairobi City County.
The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) which declared a seven-day strike notice last week said there will be a “total paralysis of all services in the counties until the workers are paid.”
The union’s Secretary General Roba Duba stated that any further delay of salaries will subject workers to untold suffering as they will be unable to meet their basic needs.
The notice came even as the Senate held public hearings on the National Assembly’s version of the controversial Division of Revenue Bill 2019 that proposes a Sh316 billion allocation to counties.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General Ouma Oluga urged county governments to take the notice seriously to avoid a crisis in county health facilities.
Oluga argued that the division of revenue dispute shouldn’t be an excuse to delay salaries because counties have a window of asking the National Treasury for money to pay salaries.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako also said any delays in salaries and wages will not be taken lightly.
Oparanya had earlier on told county staff to prepare for salary delays and asked them to be patient as they seek avenues to address the matter.
Governors are insisting on Sh335 billion, which President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “is too much”.
The strike notice came even as the Senate held public hearings on the National Assembly’s version of the controversial Division of Revenue Bill 2019.
Following the dispute, CoG filed a case at the Supreme Court giving the Speakers of both Houses of Parliament 14 days to file a joint report on the status of the legislative process.