NAIROBI, Kenya, June 18 – Central Organisation Trade Union (COTU) on Friday issued a 14-day strike ultimatum for the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to rescind its decision to freeze basic salary review for all public workers.
SRC Chairperson, Lynn Mengich, on Thursday announced a two-year freeze of the review of basic salary structures, allowances, and benefits for all public servants including the President, Deputy President, and Members of Parliament.
COTU Assistant Secretary-General Ernest Nadome, while addressing journalists said workers will retreat to their respective unions and plan the nationwide strike which he warned will affect service delivery countrywide.
“We remain opposed to the move, we are giving SRC 14 days during which it should withdraw this illegal declaration, failure to which the entire workforce within public service will proceed on a nationwide strike,” Nadome said.
He noted that if effected, the move by SRC will frustrate several workers who are struggling with the poor economy even as he faulted the National Treasury for what he termed as ‘double standards’ in implementing measures.
“Treasury is busy making declarations aimed at frustrating workers when it is the same Treasury presiding over increases in fuel prices, levying more tax increases on workers earnings, inflation has gone up, the purchasing power of Kenyans continues to be eroded yet it the same government pushing for a freeze in salaries under the pretext of COVID-19,” Nadome explained.
The organization further refuted claims of insufficient funding in government citing misuse of funds at the expense of Kenyans.
“We wish to call on Treasury to be alive to the fact that it is these workers who will finance its Sh 3.6 trillion budget and let the Cabinet Secretary,” a statement issued by COTU added.
Mengich said the decision was informed with the current wage bill ratio and the need to channel more funds for investment in the strategic priorities of the government to jumpstart the COVID-19 ravaged economy.
“To release resources for investment In the priority areas, the wage bill to revenue and to GDP rations must take a trajectory towards the achievement of the target ratios,” the commission said.
The stay on basic salary review, Mengich said is expected to reduce the wage bill to revenue ratio to 48 percent from the average 51 per cent witnessed over the past years.
“Annual salary notch adjustments in existing salary structures, asset or advised by SRC, will continue to be applied within budget allocation,” she added.
“Public sector institutions may implement job evaluation results, by placing jobs in their rightful job evaluation grading, within existing salary structures and approved budgets, subject to confirmation to SRC that the funding is provided for in the current budget,” SRC added.