NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) has opposed the proposal by Nairobi County Government to send workers on early retirement without remitting their benefits.
The KCGWU’s Secretary General, Roba Duba, on Thursday said it was laughable that the City Hall wants to send workers on early retirement yet it haven’t remitted close to Sh20 billion of pension contributions.
“As a union we are saying no to this, this is illegal and it will not work,” said Duba.
Duba warned Governor Mike Sonko’s administration against engaging workers in any talks regarding retrenchment before settling the huge debts it owes them.
“Alongside the pension dues, Nairobi County owes employees other huge debts which include WIBA compensations, staff arrears, accrued leave days, uniforms and unpaid PPEs among others,” he said.
He said the Union was surprised that Nairobi County never served them with the voluntary early retirement scheme document officially, which Duba said they just happened to stumble on it.
The document contains detailed proposals for county employees who wish to proceed on early retirement.
Duba said the move by the county government constituted impunity since there were no consultations with relevant stakeholders including the workers’ unions and the workers’ pension scheme representatives who are critical in contributing to the process.
“This document has never been brought to our attention, despite the County Government of Nairobi recognizing this union. We are disappointed for non-involvement in such an enormous and weighty matter,” said Duba.
Further, he said it is totally unacceptable for the County to compel unsuspecting poor workers to take up a substandard scheme.
According to Nairobi County Government the plan to have a voluntary early retirement scheme specifically for old staff is to cut down on costs, since a big chunk of county’s budget goes to payment of salaries.
Governor Sonko last year indicated that the early retirement scheme would be voluntary and no one will be forced to take it.
The KCGWU is also reading malice in retrenchment plan proposed by devolved units, saying that the move is aimed at laying off employees who are formally from debunked Local Authorities so that county governors can employ their cronies.
“It’s not that the County doesn’t have money and more staffs are still being hired. This means that this retrenchment is targeted on former Local Authorities employees,” said KCGWU’s Secretary General.
In 2015, former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto almost landed in jail when he removed former local authority staff from the county’s payroll.