22 January 2013

Kenya: City Council Workers Go On Strike

Photo: Capital FM
City Hall: Council workers have downed their tools over pay.

Operations at the City Council of Nairobi were yesterday disrupted after workers went in strike demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

Town clerk P.T Odongo however condemned the strike called by the Kenya Local Government Workers Union terming it "unjustified".

He said the strike was directed to a wrong office and actions by the union were proof there was "a sinister motive" by the officials to sabotage operations of the council offices.

Addressing the press in his office, Odongo said it is a constitutional right for every employee to picket and even strike but added that the conduct by the union officials "is an abuse on their rights and should not go unchallenged".

"We are not against the alleged strike so long as it has followed the prerequisite labour laws. Going on strike is a fundamental employee right guaranteed by the constitution but there is no protection for vandalism, property destruction and violence against colleagues," he said.

He said the council, through its internal mechanism, had summoned them to appear before the disciplinary committee. "We have sent a letter to the culprits asking them to respond within seven days why they think they cannot face disciplinary action," he said.

He admitted that efforts by the office to hold dialogue with the union had failed. He, however, said they were still ready to negotiate with them as they wait for the verdict of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The Minister for Local Government earlier this month forwarded the collective bargaining agreement on salaries together with background information and analysis to the salaries and remuneration commission as was agreed by the union officials and is due to be approved by 3 March.

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