That the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation is facing serious management problems is not a secret. The staff from the defunct research institutes that were merged to form Kalro are crying foul after the management seemed to backtrack on implementing harmonisation of salary structures, various allowances and other terms and conditions of service.
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To save the Kalro staff from loss of jobs through establishment of Kalro, the expected impact on the staff, the Union of National Research and Allied Institutes of Kenya secretary general Zachary Achacha wrote to the cabinet secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Felix Koskei in a letter dated June 30 2014.
The letter reads: “It is on the above basis that as a duty, responsibility and direct concern that we have been obligated to address you and accordingly seek your assurance that the massive re-organisation exercise shall not lead to job loss, that Kalro by taking over the management and administration of the staff affected will do so and maintain status quo, that the organisation will be mandated to take care of the ongoing or existing trade disputes”.
In a letter dated June 20 2015 signed by Achacha and addressed to the director general of Kalro the matter of merger and centralisation of Kalro single unit payroll and payslips are set up.
Achacha in his letter acknowledged that Kalro management has taken action to merge the payroll and in the process, the various merged former institutes such as Kari, Kesref, CRF and TRF but also noted that the core issues of irregularities of salaries in uniformity in which similar grades or job groups are placed in different salary points is yet to be solved.
The letter reads in part: “Our request to the Kalro management is for normalisation and harmony of the disparities obtaining much as they continue to demoralise Kalro staff. We strongly and urgently seek your prompt action to have the issue settled in the spirit of equity”.
A month later, the union realised that Kalro management had not acted on the matter and wrote another letter dated July 20 2015 addressed to the cabinet secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and signed by Achacha where the union demanded that Kalro staff who are supported by the new Kalro Act 2013 to get harmonised salaries and various allowances by end of July 2015.
The letter reads in part: “Kindly and timely comply with the above and in resonance with the promises previously made by Kalro management to its employees”.
In another letter dated August 4 2015 addressed to the director general of Kalro and signed by Achacha, it was revealed that the management has refused to implement a circular which had given express orders that house and hardship allowances be implemented with effect from July 1 2015. The Kalro staff were therefore destined to earn the reviewed salaries and allowances with effect from July 1 2015.
The letter reads in part: “However, your circular above, on the contrary, is a great disappointment to the Kalro staff, much as their hopes have been seriously shuttered”.
Achacha claims that according to the Kalro Act 2013 establishment procedures, salaries harmonisation and other terms and conditions of service were to be implemented in July 2015 payroll.
“In the above circumstances, the union has been forced to demand that the reviewed house and hardship allowances and the harmonised salary structures for Kalro staff be strictly implemented on definite timelines and in this case with effect from August 1 2015 payroll which as a rightful boost of staff morale is already suppressed.
The Kalro director general K Kireger in a letter dated July 28, 2015 addressed to all Kalro staff says: “The management has reviewed the house allowance for all staff of Kalro in tandem with the above circular and has prepared a proposal for review and approval by the interim management committee”.
The director has also pleaded with the staff to be patient as the management works on the harmonised salaries. “I therefore ask for your patience and understanding as the management and the board of management is doing everything in their power to expedite the process and ensure that harmonised salaries for the organisation are implemented”.
Unrisk had also written to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission demanding that Kalro staff salaries are harmonised and paid in time. A letter dated July 24 2015 signed by Janet Mabwa and addressed to Achacha reads: “The commission has noted the contents of your letter with thanks and appreciates your continued support”.