Hard­ship al­lowance re­prieve for Tharaka-nithi civil ser­vants

Business Daily (Kenya) - - COUNTY BUSINESS - Lynet Igad­wah lig­ad­wah@ke.na­tion­media.com

Civil ser­vants in Tharaka-nithi got a re­prieve af­ter Par­lia­ment backed their call for the gov­ern­ment to re­sume pay­ing them hard­ship al­lowance.

The Na­tional As­sem­bly’s Labour and So­cial Wel­fare Com­mit­tee ap­proved in­clu­sion of Tharaka Nithi among hard­ship ar­eas to al­low pub­lic ser­vants qual­ify for hard­ship al­lowance.

The em­ploy­ees af­fil­i­ated to the Union of Kenya Civil Ser­vants ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of be­ing dis­crim­i­na­tive in deny­ing them the al­lowance while pay­ing teach­ers in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances be­tween Sh2,800 and Sh60,000 per month de­pend­ing on job group.

“Since the af­fected em­ploy­ees are le­gally cov­ered in the Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Agree­ment (CBA), it is un­fair to deny them some­thing that was reg­is­tered for im­ple­men­ta­tion in the Labour Court,” said Ny­atike MP Tom Odege, who chairs the com­mit­tee. Em­ploy­ees in Tharaka South, Tharaka North and Igamba Ng’ombe sub-coun­ties in July pe­ti­tioned the Na­tional As­sem­bly to in­ter­vene in their case fol­low­ing stop­page of the al­lowance two months af­ter its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The al­lowance was en­forced in 1997 when Tharaka District (now Tharaka Nithi County) was de­clared a hard­ship area. This fol­lowed the sign­ing of a CBA be­tween the Kenya Na­tional Union of Teach­ers (KNUT) and the Teach­ers Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (TSC). The pe­ti­tion­ers said no ex­pla­na­tion was of­fered for the scrap­ping of the al­lowance when their coun­ter­parts in the Ju­di­ciary Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and TSC still re­ceive it.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion chair­man Stephen Kirogo told MPS that Tharaka Nithi sub coun­ties are not iden­ti­fied as hard­ship ar­eas for civil ser­vants. “In 2015, the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent re­viewed ar­eas des­ig­nated as hard­ship and the cir­cu­lar com­mu­ni­cated to the ser­vice by the Head of Pub­lic Ser­vice did not iden­tify Tharaka South, Tharaka North and Igamba Ng’ombe sub coun­ties as hard­ship ar­eas,” he said.

Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of hard­ship ar­eas is based on fac­tors such as food and wa­ter ac­ces­si­bil­ity, cli­matic con­di­tions, avail­abil­ity of ba­sic so­cial ser­vices, trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices as well as the poverty in­dex.

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VCCCCCE Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion chair Stephen Kirogo.

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