Salaries commission under fire for overturning dock workers pay deal

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 00:00 |
Salaries and Remuneration Commission chair Lynn Meng’ich when she appeared before the National Assembly Labour Committee in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) yesterday came under heavy criticism for overturning a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for dock workers.

The purported changes being proposed by the commission have since delayed salary increment of Kenya Port Authority (KPA) workers who were to enjoy a 10 per cent pay rise, which was to be backdated to January last year.

A parliamentary committee heard yesterday that the commission decided to put on hold the implementation of the new CBA after it was approached by the Commission.

Appearing before the Labour Committee, SRC chairperson Lynn Meng’ich said that KPA management had requested that the 10 per cent increment be reduced to five per cent and be spread out to four years instead of two.

KPA and Dock Workers Union (DWU) agreed on a 10 per cent salary rise a month ago, but the law demands that the deal must be approved by the SRC to register.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir had petitioned the committee to direct that the SRC registers the agreement for it to be implemented.

“Thousands of workers who are to benefit from this pay rise are crying for their rights, SRC cannot assume the powers of other agencies to delay the implementation of the deal,” Nassir told the committee. Meng’ich said KPA had made the request to delay the registration of the CBA citing cash flow problems.

“We have not delayed anything as it has been claimed, we are acting on a request made by the KPA to review the implementation module,” Meng’ich said.

Dock Workers Union General Secretary Simon Sang said the 4,400 members sought to be paid their 16-month arrears.

Sang accused the commission of overstepping its mandate, saying SRC is an advisory body not to Joint Industrial Council (JIC) compromising KPA and the Union but an advisory body only to the employer (KPA) in this case.

Committee chairman Wachira Kabinga (Mwea) said the commission had been given enough time to address the matter adding that members will not make further delays but will proceed to report to Parliament the progress made.

In the new CBA, the basic salary for the highest-paid dock worker stands at Sh106,534, up from Sh102,436 per month, while the lowest-paid worker will take home Sh46,144, up from the current Sh44,369.

Sang told the committee that there was no procedure for reopening any further negotiations between KPA and the Union, adding that the only solution to the matter was the full implementation of the CBA.

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