More Lay offs Looms at Laikipia County

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Laikipia County government has vowed to continue with the staff rationalization exercise that could see more workers laid off after 176 employees were sent home early this month.

Acting County Secretary Karanja Njora said that the ongoing staff rationalization was a continuous exercise meant to ensure the right placement of workers and re-designation of those have furthered their education.

“We have embarked on staff right-sizing in which we are appraising employees based on performance management practices,” he said.

Speaking during a media briefing at his Nanyuki office Friday, Njora added that all the County Executive Committee (CECs) members and several directors had been appraised so far and that the same would be cascaded to other lower cadre workers.

The County Secretary further said that the aim of the exercise was meant to increase quality service delivery to residents.

Early this month, the Laikipia government laid off 176 workers after a staff audit by the County Public Service Board (CPSB) in which their positions were rendered irrelevant in the new devolved unit dispensation.

The county government said the move was part of its efforts to trim the ballooning wage bill, which currently stands at 58 percent of the annual budget and the move was expected to see Sh1.1 billion channeled from the recurrent expenditure to development annually.

Some of the positions that were declared redundant included rodent catchers, herdsmen, cleaning supervisors, switchboard operators and market masters that were part of the defunct local authorities employment cadres but were no longer tenable in the current devolved units.

“Some of these positions such as rodent catchers were deployed in markets to control rats and other rodents but with the improved hygiene, we longer have rats in our markets,” Njora said.

Others like herdsmen were employed to look after cattle in holding yards that were run by the former municipal and town councils but the functions have since ceased operations.

Njora said that those that were targeted were those who could not justify what tasks they were currently undertaking and had also failed to upgrade their academic qualifications so that they could be redeployed to other sectors of the government.

The laid-off workers have since moved to the Labour and Employment court seeking an injunction to halt the layoffs.

Administration and Public Service Management CEC Rose Maitai said that the reforms would continue to ensure maximum service delivery and assured workers that the exercise would be carried out in a fair manner.

By Martin Munyi

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