Employees gather evidence of Sonko 'inhumane treatment'

NAIROBI, KENYA: County workers are now collecting evidence against Governor Mike Sonko to back claims of harassment, threats and intimidation, which they say have increased.

This comes against the backdrop of the arrest of Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) branch secretary Benson Olianga over bribery allegations.

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Speaking to the Metropolitan, KCGWU Chairman Roba Duba said the union was using instances where workers have either been locked out of their offices illegally, sent on compulsory leave or even been set up to back an abuse of office case against the governor.

“Threats to workers must stop and Sonko needs to understand that this job is not like the previous one he had. This behaviour of walking around with gadgets to record people and also using the anti-graft officers to arrest workers is not how you conduct a governor’s job,” said Duba.

The chairman went on to emphasise that if this ‘inhumane’ treatment would not stop, the workers would go on a mother of all strikes and cripple service delivery.

“If he continues this way we will be forced to energise our members and stage protests despite the fact that we do not want to do so given the political climate,” added Duba.

The union has now moved to court and obtained orders blocking the alleged harassment of workers by the governor.

Duba explained that the particular targeting and harassment of Benson Olianga emanates from a contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement between the workers and the county government.

The CBA negotiated and signed during the tenure of former governor Evans Kidero, would see the workers get an additional Sh1.5 billion in salaries with the highest paid getting a 7.5 per cent increase while the least paid would get 15 per cent.

This, Duba said, was taking into account the cost of living, inflation and productivity.

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On salary delays, he urged the governor to pursue the dialogue route and refrain from using goons to harass workers.

“Sonko is trying to dissociate himself with the CBA. Instead of telling us that we need to dialogue, he targets Olianga and sends people to threaten him and this will not be tolerated,” reiterated Duba.

Olianga, who had been arrested on Tuesday by Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission officials, refuted claims he had demanded for a Sh1 million in order to avert a strike.