A damning report has revealed that Huduma Centres are operating like private colonial companies with no regard for employees’ rights.
This shocking details have been disclosed by an employee who was among the more than 52 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) officers and hundreds of casual workers dismissed earlier this month by Huduma Centre Managers across the country.
The employee, who chose to remain anonymous, revealed that they had been working on a seven-year contract renewable every three months without any confirmation of a permanent position.
This is against the Public Service Commission (PSC) HR policies that require employees to work on a contract basis.
According to the informant, the dismissals were orchestrated to create space for the bosses’ children and relatives.
In some centres, staff members are expected to work from 7 am to 7 pm without a break for lunch, as provided for by PSC HR policies which allow a break between 1-2 pm.
This is an unreasonable expectation that the employee likened to “working like a donkey.”
Furthermore, the withdrawal of breakfast and morning tea for staff has been cited to have a negative impact on productivity.
This lack of consideration for employees is absurd, especially since the highest office in the land reportedly spends hundreds of millions a month on tea.
Huduma Centres fall under the Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action, which manages public service employees.
The informant has questioned how such a ministry could be home to a department that is operating against the very policies that it is supposed to uphold.
“The Huduma Centres are a paradox, a ministry that manages public service employees should not be seen to condone the actions of the Huduma Centre managers,” the informant said.
The employee also pointed out that while President Ruto is championing for 100% digitization of government services, it is equally important to take care of staff welfare, which includes training and development.
The dismissal of the employees is not only unjust but also unlawful.
Under Kenyan labour laws, employers are required to give their employees at least a one-month notice before termination of employment and pay their dues in full. The employees who were dismissed did not receive any such notice or compensation.
This blog reached out to Huduma Kenya Secretariat for comment but had not received a response at the time of publishing.