This morning, the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the 2021-2025 Cycle between the Government and the Kenya Union of Civil Servants was signed in Nairobi.
Principal Secretary of the State Department for Public Service, Mr. Amos Gathecha who presided over the event acknowledged the importance of engaging with trade unions in negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) in the interests of public servants to promote harmonious labour relations and industrial actions in the public service.
He noted that a fragmented approach to collective bargaining negotiations, coupled with the lack of a common negotiating body and a subsequent framework to spearhead the negotiations, had led to different public sector entities at both the national and county governments signing numerous varied collective bargaining agreements that are not adherent to any standard norms, and which are often devoid of strict conformity to the prevalent terms and conditions of service for public servants.
The approach, he added, had caused many challenges, which include disparities, disharmony and inconsistencies in the remuneration and benefits structures in the public service, delays in concluding collective bargaining processes, continuous labour unrest among employees, and disruption of critical service delivery in the different sectors.
“In order to address the matter, the State Department for Public Service together with the relevant government agencies, has finalised working on a framework to standardise and guide the process of collective bargaining negotiations in the public service,” he said during the meeting. “Some of the key areas include the terms and conditions of the CBA with the UKCS, comprehensive medical and group life insurance schemes for civil servants development of a payroll management policy to ensure a sustainable public service wage bill among others.”
Secretary General of the UKCS, Mr. Tom Odege appreciated the committee for its efforts in ensuring that the negotiations addressed the welfare of the union members however, he noted that the bone of contention was the commuter allowance which the union was keen to have reviewed. “The current commuter allowance is the thorn in the flesh for our members as it is irrelevant,” he said.
Having gone through the CBA, the Principal Secretary noted the committee had successfully concluded the process of negotiation in the area of Salaries, Allowances and Related Matters; Employer-Employee Relations; Leave Entitlements; Medical Benefits and Related Matters; and Cessation of Employment.
The CBA is based on a budget allocation of Ksh. 1,135,408,744/- and is effective from 1st July, 2023. The second phase will be based on a budget of Kshs. 1,126,486,162/- effective from 1st July, 2024. For house allowance, the Salaries Review Commission has approved review of house allowance on a budget of Kshs. 115,071,472 in the first phase and Kshs. 223,694,412/- in the Second Phase.