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Kisumu county workers down tools over delayed July, August salaries

The workers converged at the Kisumu Jomo Sports Ground on Thursday where they announced the commencement of their strike/FILE – OJWANG JOE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Kisumu County employees have downed their tools pressing for the payment of their salaries for the months of July and August 2019.

The workers converged at the Kisumu Jomo Sports Ground on Thursday where they announced the commencement of their strike.

Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) Branch Chairperson Edward Kojiema said workers are frustrated after going without their monthly wages.

Kojiema said a strike notice was issued to the County Government but the Governor Anyang Nyongo-led administration did not engage union officials.

“We gave a strike notice that expired last night (September 10), we have urged our members to withdraw their labour so that the county government can be forced to reason with us,” he said.

Kojiema said workers are facing difficulties in meeting basic needs and it was prudent to come out in the streets to protest the nonpayment of their dues.

“Most of our workers are right now being chased away from their rental houses, they are lacking water, electricity is being disconnected, their children are not going to school,” he said.

He said statutory deductions are not being remitted and that is putting the workers at against various public and financial institutions.

Kisumu’s 2019/20 financial year budget has not been passed, further hampering efforts to pay workers’ salaries.

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Kojiema said the stalemate between the County Assembly and the executive is none of their business.

He wondered why Kisumu was still locked up in a quagmire over the passage of its budget and the 2019 Finance Bill yet other counties have paid their workers.

“These are administrative issues that the county can sort out, that are not the work of the workers, for us we want our pay,” he said.

The workers marched through the streets in the lakeside city while carrying placards.

The hardest hit sector is health as all the carders in the sector have joined the protest, leaving patients dejected as they seek treatment in private hospitals which many say charge exorbitant prices.

However, the budget impasse might be resolved later on Thursday as Kisumu County Assembly plans to pass the controversial Finance Bill at a sitting to be presided over by a newly installed Acting Speaker following the controversial ouster of Onyango Oloo earlier in the week.

Elisha Oraro confirmed to Capital FM News that the budget document is set to be presented before the House Thursday afternoon.

“I can confirm to you that this Thursday afternoon, the Assembly will discuss the budget with a view of passing it,” he said.

Governor Anyang Nyong’o had returned the Sh10 billion budget document passed by the Assembly with amendments but the Assembly under the stewardship of Oloo set some bare minimums before adopting the proposed amendments.

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The MCAs had included in the budget a Sh45 million development allocation for each of the 35 wards.

Governor Nyong’o was against the idea thus rejecting the budget.

With the new leadership, ostensibly, fronted by the Executive, the Assembly is expected to endorse the budget clearing the way for payment of pending financial commitments including salaries.

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