A Caution to Kenyan Trades Unions on Dangers of SRC, by Prof. Lukoye Atwoli

Prof. Lukoye Atwoli

Kenyan Trades Unions please take note:

1. The Salaries and Remunerations Commission has published new salary scales and grades for civil servants, and will soon cover all public officers except those designated as State Officers.

2. These scales are for all intents and purposes immutable and will not be varied by the public sector employers, since the Court of Appeal held that “the advise by SRC (sic) under Article 230(4)(b) of the Constitution is binding…” and this judgment has never been the subject of appeal at the Supreme Court.

3. Based on recent events and the elephantine role the SRC has played in them, it is clear to me that union collective bargaining with public sector employers has officially come to an end (effective July 1st, 2017), and going forward public sector workers will have to be still and await SRC’s advice instead of attempting CBA negotiations.

4. In the alternative, all public sector unions will from now henceforth be negotiating their remuneration with the SRC, which is now the only state agency with the role of determining pay for all public sector workers (except for State Officers, for whom SRC only offers belated advice).

5. State Officers will continue setting their own terms and conditions of service, with or without advice from the SRC, which may be routinely ignored as has been the case over the last five years.

6. Finally, please note that the SRC is effectively the new custodian of the Public Wage Bill (previously the responsibility of the National Executive), and the National Government cannot realistically be expected to take responsibility for the Public Wage Bill going forward.

(Perhaps the SRC Chair should now become an elective post, either as co-President, or at least as the Cabinet Secretary for the Public Wage Bill. After all the SRC is now a fully fledged government department in charge of setting public officer pay, and advising on State Officer remuneration. Read your Constitution, people!)

About Mang'unyi Elvis

ICT and Website Administrator at COTU Kenya.