KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 9 – 12 counties have dispersed July salaries forestalling a looming strike next Tuesday, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako announced on Thursday.
Counties that have paid up the salaries include Garissa, Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Mandera, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, Kwale, Bungoma, Kisii and Kakamega.
Salaries for county staff were delayed in most counties after the two Houses of Parliament failed to reach a consensus on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 which determines sharable revenue for devolved units.
Panyako announced during a media briefing in Kisumu that workers in the remaining counties that have not paid will proceed with a scheduled industrial action next week.
Panyako said Kakamega County headed by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the Chairperson of Council of Governors (CoG) was the latest to pay the salaries.
He wondered why Oparanya had issued a circular asking county workers to brace for hard times ahead due to the stalemate on the Division of Revenue Bill yet in his backyard he is paying workers.
“Kakamega has paid today, so you can now see when I say Governor Oparanya is misleading Governors, why has he paid?” he asked.
He told the CoG Chairperson to advice other counties to follow suit to pay workers since salary is a constitutional right.
Speaking in Kisumu after attending a requiem mass for a union official in the lake city, Panyako insisted counties have funds to pay for salaries.
“When there is a stalemate in the budget, 50 percent of the budget is released for recurrent expenditure and emergency services, so there is money whether the budget is passed or not,” he said.
He said no county government should hide behind the stalemate to frustrate workers from getting their monthly wages.
“We have declared total war from Tuesday if salary will not have been paid by close of business on Monday,” he said.
He noted that the workers unions will not be drawn into the supremacy battles between the National Assembly and the Senate.
“We want money, salary is protected under employment Act and they supposed to pay as when it is due,” he said.
The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) on Tuesday issued a seven-day strike notice over delayed July salaries caused by the impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill.
The union’s Secretary-General Roba Duba vowed a “total paralysis of all services in the counties from Tuesday” if workers are not paid by Monday.
“Workers are not party to the Division of Revenue dispute; hence any delay is illegal and unacceptable,” he told a news conference in Nairobi Tuesday.
Duba said any further delay of salaries will make workers undergo untold suffering as they will be unable to meet their basic needs.
“Timely disbursement of salaries ensures that workers are able to meet their financial obligations as and when they become due,” he said.