By Adieri Mulaa
City Hall has proposed a supplementary budget of Kshs.4 billion to pay outstanding statutory deductions owed to the workers’ pension schemes among other debts.
Nairobi County Secretary Jairus Musumba says out of that amount, Kshs. 2 billion will be utilized to remit a total of Kshs. 1.2 billion to Laptrust and Kshs. 800 million to Lapfund.
“There after, payments to the two staff pension schemes will be done on pro rata basis” Dr Musumba told The Times, adding that henceforth, the county Chief Finance Officer will be making prompt monthly remittances to reduce debts owed to the pension schemes.
Last week, the county government employees staged a two – day strike raising several grievances on their welfare and certain terms of service.
The workers were demanding a new medical insurance cover after the previous one lapsed in July 2021, remittance of statutory deductions, harmonised allowances for the employees, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and uniforms for deserving staff.
However, the 12 grievances were resolved in earnest following two – day negotiations between the county management, Kenya County Government Workers Union and Nairobi County Public Service Board.
The county government has engaged the National Hospital Insurance Fund to provide medical insurance cover for the employees.
The workers’ medical cover is among several other resolutions that were sealed last week through a negotiated agreement in which the county management team was represented by Dr Musumba and the Chief Officer, County Public Service Management, Mr Leboo ole Morintat.
“We settled for the National Hospital Insurance Fund to which we have already remitted Kshs. 392 million for the county staff medical insurance cover”, Dr Musumba said.
The workers were represented by KCGWU Deputy Secretary General, Dr John Ndunda, Nairobi Staff Branch Secretary Festus Ngari and Nairobi City Branch Secretary Benson Olianga while the County Public Service Board was represented by the chairman, Mr. Thomas Kasoa.
According to Dr Musumba, the County has a balance of Kshs. 300 million to be paid by 28th October, 2022, but the NHIF had agreed to immediately commence offering medical insurance cover to the staff.
“We have negotiated with the NHIF and agreed that our employees who require medical attention can go to any of the appointed hospitals where they will be attended to”, he noted.
Other grievances that were resolved include staff re – designation and promotions which were long overdue.
Thus, Nairobi County Public Service Board has embarked on the re – designation and promotion of all employees and the exercise is expected to be completed this week.
The county employees had vowed not to relent until all their grievances were resolved. But addressing the workers who were picketing at City Hall, the County Secretary said:
“I want to assure you all that I am one of you. I have worked in this county government for more than 30 years. So all the problems you are going through, I have also gone through”.
On salary delays, the County Secretary blamed the Nairobi Metropolitan Services for releasing its payroll later than the 15th day of every month.
“The NMS should finalise their payroll and submit to the County Chief Finance Officer by the 15th day of every month so that we pay all employees together on time because we are the ones who pay salaries”, said the County Secretary.
On statutory deductions to NHIF, KRA and the staff pension schemes, it was resolved that starting this October, 2021, staff salaries would be released as gross pay, including all deductions.
The employees had complained about being paid net salaries while the county finance sector failed to remit their statutory deductions.
Other deductions like share contributions to Nacico Sacco Society, repayment of bank loans and contributions to staff welfare societies under standing instructions were also not remitted promptly.
The County Public Service Management had suspended provision of uniforms or compensation because there was no guiding policy.
The County Public Service Board has now adopted a new uniform policy prepared by the county government.
Dr Musumba says the new policy became effective on 14th, October, 2021 but employees who retired before it was enacted will be paid as per the previous terms.
Regarding issuance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to employees, all sectors are required to confirm in writing whether all staff in their respective sectors had received the items.
“I know that my chief officers may not tell me the truth if I write to them. I have instructed that all shopstewards whose sectors received the PPEs but they have not been issued to the staff should inform my office so that we take action”, Dr Musumba said.
Harmonisation of staff allowances involves county employees who were in the defunct City Council of Nairobi, those deployed to the county from National Government, those recruited by the county government as well as those deployed to the NMS from City Hall.
The County Secretary said the negotiation team would sit down with the NMS to find a way forward because some of the employees were given deployment letters which could not be actualised.
Concerning county askaris (security personnel) and other staff who have accumulated leave and off days, they should lodge payment requests through their respective chief officers and attach relevant documents.
“We are aware some askaris do not go on leave because we have a shortage. They should forward their documents to their respective chief officers to be paid. This includes those who went on leave but were not paid leave allowances”, Dr Musumba said.
It will now be a requirement that chief officers who recall employees from leave or off duty, or assign staff to work overtime must do so in writing.
Further, the County Secretary has directed reimbursement to be done in the October 2021 payroll to all newly employed City Inspectorate constables, firemen and women, following erroneous deductions of statutory Pay As You Earn (PAYE) levies on their salaries.
Dr Musumba said firemen and women who were employed recently were given unbefitting designations and subsequently placed in wrong scales.
Nairobi County Public Service Board and the County Public Service Management have undertaken to correct the anomalies by the end of this October, 2021.
The County Secretary announced that proposals and counter proposals for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) were ready. The first meeting between the county management and the workers’ Union is scheduled to be held on 26th October, 2021.