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Nairobi County workers issue strike notice

Nairobi County staff have threatened to go on strike accusing the newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) of derailing the implementation of a return-to-work formula struck with City Hall in February.

The workers also complained of being kept in the dark over secondment of county staff to the new office.

As a result, the staff, through the Kenya County Government Workers Union, have given the new office led by Director General Mohamed Badi a one week notice to convene a meeting to iron out the issues, failure to which they will go on strike.

“We demand that an urgent meeting be convened between all the stakeholders in the next seven days to clear all the issues raised by the Union. Take notice that if you do not convene the meeting as requested, this Union will be at liberty to take any other and/or further industrial action without any further reference to you,” read in part the March 31, 2020 letter.

The letter is signed by Nairobi Staff branch secretary Boniface Waweru and Nairobi City branch secretary Benson Olianga and is addressed to Mr Badi, Nairobi County Secretary, chairs of both National and County governments Boards and copied to Governor Mike Sonko, Inspector General of police and KRA Commissioner General.

The officials alleged that a return to work formula struck with County Public Service Board on February 5, 2020 and is in the process of being implemented, is being derailed by the transfer of functions.

“The agreement reached on this matter must be implemented to the letter and within the time limits agreed failure to which, we shall take immediate industrial action,” said the officials adding that the issues must be addressed before the secondment is actualised.

The Union also decried a lack of proper coordination, involvement and dissemination of information to key stakeholders which have resulted in a state of confusion with staff finding themselves being commandeered by more than three centres of power.

They accused Kenya Revenue Authority, which is the principal revenue collector for Nairobi, of taking advantage of the situation to deploy county staff without due regard to laid down procedures secondment of staff in the public service.

“It is totally unfair for your offices to make decisions affecting our members without involving us,” said the two officials.

The Union also alleged that the National Police Service has taken over the county’s inspectorate department with officers from NPS being spotted at City Hall and other county premises giving orders to city askaris whereas inspectorate services were not taken over by the State.

Further, they accused senior NPS officers of threatening senior officers in the department as well as intimidating and subjecting them to inhumane treatment despite the department falling under the office of the Governor, which was not transferred or abolished.

“By a copy of this letter, the IG is requested to clarify whether inspectorate services were indeed transferred to his office and if so, furnish the undersigned with the instruments of transfer thereto,” read the letter.

The officials said that despite chairmen of both Public Service Commission and Nairobi County Public Service Board on March 18, 2020, signing an agreement to facilitate the secondment and/or deployment of officers from City Hall to NMS neither the deed of transfer of functions nor the instruments accompanying it acknowledged the key role played by trade unions in negotiating terms and conditions of service of employees.

They said both documents have failed to mention who will represent unionisable employees by their respective trade unions in contravention of Article 41 of the Constitution on rights of every worker to be a member of a trade union.

“We demand that the instrument be amended by way of an addendum to make provision for Union participation in labour relations including negotiations for collective bargaining agreement and at least two union officials be nominated to represent workers in the inter-agency committee.”