17 May 2017

Kenya: Nairobi Workers Tell of Harrowing Ordeals Following Pay Delay

As the pay row at City Hall rages, workers with patients admitted to hospitals are the most affected, the Nation has learnt.

Some county staff who spoke to the Nation on Wednesday, on condition of anonymity, narrated of harrowing ordeals they have been subjected to, as City Hall has not remitted National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) money.

On Wednesday, Niarobi County services were paralysed as the workers protested their delayed April salaries due to an impasse between Central Bank and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on one side against the County government on the other side.

According to one of the workers, his spouse has been detained at Nairobi West Hospital as he has been unable to offset bills because no money has been remitted to his NHIF account.

In a hospital form from the Nairobi West Hospital seen by the Nation, the worker has been informed in the membership segment that the current contribution is in arrears and he is not covered for the services offered.

"Current contributions in arrears. This member is not covered for the services (Apr NOT PAID),"read the form.

13,000 WORKERS

A former branch secretary the workers' union, Edward Peter Nyerere, said that all workers who had patients including family members admitted in the month of May are detained at hospitals and are in debts over arrears in payment of NHIF.

Mr Nyerere said that he could not ascertain the number but with such a huge workforce of over 13,000 with families, those affected are many.

Services paralysed on Wednesday included parking, markets, licences, city mortuary, garbage collectors and inspectorate departments.

The Kenya Union workers union chairman Nairobi branch Bernard Inyangala said that the county had said that the dispute between the county and KRA did not involve them and all they want is their pay.

Workers missed their April salaries following the standoff between KRA and City Hall after CBK transferred money to the taxman which the county says was meant to pay it workers.

ADVANCE LOAN

The devolved unit spends about Sh1.3 billion to pay its 13,000 workers.

However the county received an advance of Sh1.021 billion from treasury on Tuesday with county secretary Robert Ayisi saying workers had been paid terming their strike illegal.

According to Dr Ayisi, workers with accounts at Cooperative bank and Nacico will receive their salaries today as the county had already deposited Sh1 billion.

"While those in other banks will receive there's tomorrow because of clearance procedures. Everybody should go back to work there is no cause for alarm and unnecessary picketing," said Dr Ayisi.

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