2 September 2012

Kenya: Salaries Team Urges Dialogue Over Pay Strikes

The country's public education system is likely to grind to a halt today, after teachers maintained that they were embarking on their planned ... ( Resource: Kenyan Teachers Vow to Strike )

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has urged labour unions in the public sector to engage in talks with the government before resolving to go on strike to demand pay hikes.

In a statement coming hours before teachers go on a strike over delayed salary increments, the commission's Chairperson Sarah Serem has blamed lack of dialogue for an increase in strike threats in the civil service.

"The Salaries and Remuneration Commission urges the parties involved to exhaust all the avenues provided for addressing the matter. The Commission also wants to reiterate its counsel and advise the respective parties in the industrial action to uphold the Constitution and follow due process provided in the legislation for Collective Bargaining," Serem said.

Serem said they provided the Public Service and all unions a guideline giving parameters to be followed in addressing remuneration and benefit reviews in July this year.

"The commission has however , observed with concern that the respective parties in the industrial action have so far not demonstrated compliance with the process of collective bargaining as provided," she said.

Serem has called on the parities to extensively explore dialogue as strikes were bound to hurt the economy.

"Whereas SRC appreciates Article 37 of the Constitution that provides that every worker has a right to go on strike, the commission maintains that it is equally important that the spirit and other provisions of the Constitution is adhered to," she said.

"Industrial unrest is costly to the country as it hurts our economy. It is also bruising to the people of Kenya, specifically the youth and the children."

Unions representing university dons and non teaching staff, teachers and medical staff have announced that they would be going on strike over delayed pay increments.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has maintained that the teachers strike will start tomorrow as scheduled despite an industrial court ruling blocking it.

On Friday, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union gave the government a 14-day strike notice to implement a return-to-work formula that was signed last December.

The mandate of SRC includes advising the national and county governments on the remuneration of public officers.

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