Over 4, 000 workers in Kisumu County are staring at yet another salary delay after the government announced a change in the mode of payment for January.
In a memo signed by County Secretary (CS), Geoffrey Kigochi, the salaries shall not be remitted to bank accounts but through cheques handed over to individual officers.
Even though the date for effecting the payment has not been announced, the workers have been instructed to prepare their letters of first and current appointment and carry their original academic documents while collecting the cheques.
The directive which targets to weed out ghost workers and those who were employed un-procedurally has however, drawn mixed reactions and panic amongst the workers.
The disgruntled workers have questioned the manner in which the county government was handling the issue of ghost workers, saying several head counts have been conducted but no report had been made public.
“They have been talking about ghost workers for years and even conducted head counts. The most recent one was done by Price Waterhouse Coopers at tax payers’ money yet we have never seen the findings,” said Maurice Opetu, the Kenya National Union of Nurses Deputy General Secretary.
Opetu said the move was another well-orchestrated scheme by the county government to delay salaries for employees. “What we are seeing is a clear case of mismanagement where the employer is unable to plan and pay workers’ salaries on time,” he said.
The move, he added, was a ploy by the county government to push workers into an industrial strike and in turn victimize union officials.
Already some union officials, he said have been targeted with transfers and intimidation to silence them over incessant salary delays.
Paying workers by cheque, he said, was an infringement on the workers’ rights and would expose them to unnecessary insecurity.
An employee in the Revenue Department, Victor Odhiambo said the delay has affected statutory deductions and was likely to get them listed with the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) for failing to honor loan payments.
“As we speak it is not clear how this cheque system is going to work. Are they going to write cheques to various banks and micro finance institutions we owe money or we shall bank the cheques then withdraw to pay for our loans?, he asked.
Efforts to get a comment on the matter from the County Secretary were futile as his phone went unanswered.
By Chris Mahandara