The Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) is yet again and in a span of less that seven months on the verge of an economic crisis. The once blossoming establishment is said to be facing a cash crunch occasioned by the corporation’s poor management practices as the country’s oldest parastatal fights for its survival.
According to the institution’s financial reports, the corporation continues to sink into losses, with the effects of coronavirus sending it further into the deeper and darker conduits of the financial abyss.
The troubles started, came into the limelight rather, in 2011 when some 550 workers threatened to strike, and were later dismissed with allegations of gross misconduct. The employment and labor relations court then ordered the employees to be reinstated unconditionally only to be retrenched a few months later. Some were terminated on account of redundancy.
Today, Postal Corporation of Kenya employees are on their fifth month without salaries, even as the State declared them essential service providers in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chief Executive Officer Postal Corporation of Kenya Daniel Kagwe, the brother to the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has come under sharp criticism from the disgruntled employees who blame his backward management style to be the weight bearing heavily on the corporation’s struggle to remain relevant.
They allege that Mr. Kagwe is rude and irreproachable with oppressive tendencies. He makes unilateral decisions that affect the employees without consultations with his senior management team, a fact that was confirmed by a senior manager who asked to remain anonymous.
“Mr. Kagwe knows that he is an untouchable given his relationship with very senior government officials, his brother and Information Communication and Technology cabinet Mucheru. Whatever he says goes and most of us here just hold positions that have an impression of seniority, yet we are just ceremonial executives…”
Over 2000 PCK employees have gone without pay for months, which monies the management claims are not being withheld nor otherwise misappropriated, but are delayed due to the Covid-19 crisis. This statement is easily refutable as baseless and inaccurate because the storm brewing over the Postal Corporation of Kenya has been gathering clouds since 2011, some 9 years before the pandemic. It almost rained in 2016 but then the rainmakers were appeased, then again last year when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission started an investigation into the corporation’s finances on recommendation by the then Auditor General, Edward Ouko.
“We have not received our salaries since February and the company stopped remitting our contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF),We are in a desperate situation and employee morale is low.” Information from the office of the Auditor General indicates PCK spends Sh2.2 billion annually on employee salaries – translating to Sh. 1 billion for the two months that salaries have not been paid. Postmaster General Dan Kagwe, however, blamed the coronavirus in a spate of fury and refused to comment further.
The silence of the COTU secretary general on the matter is deafening and is suspicious how the usually vocal Atwoli mumb of all people has neglected the plight of these workers.
“Statutory pay for postal workers, SACCO and tax deductions have not been remitted on behalf of the workers as required by law since sometimes in 2016 and we have sought the intervention of the office of the Director of Public Prosecution” said the Communication Workers Union Secretary General, Benson Okwaro.