Doctor Kahura Mundia on Thursday, March 9, took the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to court over plans to cut non-practice allowances.
In his petition, Dr Kahura was seeking court orders that would suspend the ongoing review processes by SRC, claiming that the commission's decision may end up affecting many doctors, lawyers and judges.
Appearing before Lady Justice Thande Mugure, Kahura claimed that SRC lacks the power to remove or make changes to the doctors, lawyers and judges salary package.
"It is not in law open for the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to purport to call for public participation fora let alone purport to review the salaries of public officers as by so doing the act of the SRC is not only ultra vires but also contra constitutional provisions of Articles 230(4) and Article 234 of the Constitution, 2010," Dr Kahura stated.
KMPDU Secretary General Davji Bhimji (centre) and other officials address the media at Lake Naivasha Resort, Nakuru County on January 13, 2023.
Through his lawyer Benedict Wachira, Dr Kahura asked the court to find SRC in error, especially, when the commission called for public participation in the matter.
"Article 230(4) limits the powers of the SRC (1st Respondent herein) to recommend to the PSC ( 2nd Respondent) the salaries and remunerations that can be reviewed and/or revised. The SRC cannot revise or issue directives in the manner in which it purports to proceed," Dr Kahura stated.
Primarily, a non-practice allowance is paid to doctors, lawyers and judges to compensate them for what the government refers to as exposure to lower salaries of the public service compared to the private sector.
On March 2, 2023, SRC announced plans to crack down on excess allowances which comprise about 10 per cent of the government's wage bill.
The commission stated it could not purport to favour doctors, lawyers and judges against other employees who were not getting the same allowances.
SRC noted that doctors, lawyers and judges are sufficiently well paid to attract them to the public sector.
However, doctors pushed back against the planned removal of non-practice allowance, warning the commission of a fierce fight at the corridors of justice.
"Article 234 exclusively gives the PSC the powers to administer public service and set the salaries and remunerations payable to all public officers," Dr Kahura stated.
While responding to SRC's announcement, Kenya Medical Association on March 8, 2023, rejected the proposal in which the commission is seeking to remove non-practice allowance from doctors, lawyers and judges' pay.
The Kenya Medical Association in a statement termed the move by SRC as a direct affront to the profession, and will obviously lead to low retention rates of doctors.
Lady Justice Thande ordered that the matter be filed before the Employment and Labour Relations Court for hearing and determination.
Nairobi Employees During a Strike Staged Outside City Hall on Wednesday, October 13 Outside City Hall