The Government has announced a pay increase for the country’s lowest paid civil servants.
More than 132,000 are expected to benefit from a collective bargaining agreement signed between the Public Service ministry and Union of Kenya Civil Servants yesterday.
This will see the lowest paid employee at Job group ‘A’ earn Sh12,192, up from Sh8,900 per month effective from July 2017.
This is the second CBA the civil servants union has signed with the Government since 2012..
“Already the Government through National Treasury has allocated in the budget Sh20 billion to implement the revised basic salary structure,” said Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
The 16 to 30 per cent increment will see the highest paid employee in job group ‘N’ paid Sh81,184 per month, up from Sh51,486.
The new CBA will also see civil servants paid new health service allowance, nursing service allowance and risk allowance.
Under the CBA, housing allowance has been revised upwards where workers between job group A and D in Nairobi will be paid Sh3,750, up from Sh3,000.
Where the employer is providing housing accommodation to an employee, such an employee shall pay to the employer an appropriate rent for accommodation.
The CBA harmonises house allowances across the country by July 2018.
The new health service allowance will be paid to clinical officers, laboratory technologists and technicians, medical records officers, social workers, public health officers and community oral health workers.
Clinical officers in Job group G to L will be paid a health service allowance of Sh20,000 per month, while those in Job Group M and N will receive Sh15,000.
The lowest job cadres, mortuary attendants in Job group D to F, will be paid Sh7,500 per month.
Nurses in Job Group G to L will be paid Sh20,000 per month in nursing allowance while those in job group M and above will be paid Sh15,000.
Veterinary staff who had been left out in past CBAs will be paid Sh5,000 per month in risk allowance for job group N and below, while lab technicians will get Sh2,000.
The CBA has not however addressed salary disparities between civil servants in parliamentary and judicial service commissions.
The CBA is also in disregard of a new pay structure for civil servants recommended by Salaries and Remuneration Commission. It has stuck to the old grading system which grades civil servants from job group A to U.
This is a complete departure from what the SRC released in March this year where the highest paid civil servant is ranked at Grade E while the lowest is at B1.
The SRC has graded jobs in the entire public service into 19 categories, with the lowest employee in grade B1 earning a minimum of Sh14,442 and top earners in E4 getting a starting salary of Sh292,765 a month.
Under the CBA, the lowest paid civil servants will therefore earn Sh2,000 less than what Sarah Serem’s commission had proposed.
But during the signing of the CBA at the Office of the President, Ms Kariuki and Union of Civil Servants secretary General Tom Odege insisted that it did not totally disregard SRC’s new pay structure.
“We have taken into consideration the input from SRC to see how it will fit in,” said Ms Kariuki.
The union has contested SRC’s job grading structure accusing it of allocating similar pay for workers in job groups ‘K’, ‘L’ and ‘M’.
“We had to go with the current grading so that we take care of all civil servants; under the present grading system no one is going to lose,” said Mr Odege.
The trade unionist said the CBA was not final. “Designation, promotion and discipline were not captured in this CBA. We will therefore continue to negotiate the items with the Government,” he said.
He also complained that the National Hospital Insurance Fund had not finalised the issue of biometric cards for civil servants.
“Contributory pension scheme is an issue that we must discuss as we do not want to see people retire to die but rather lead better lives,” said Odege.
The minister promised to look into the issues raised by the union as the signing did not signify the end to negotiations.
“We will continue to negotiate with the union to include these matters including pension, which is being discussed within government,” said CS Kariuki.