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Counties

Public Service Commission chair Stephen Kirogo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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.

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“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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