Parliament staff protest as PSC slashes travel allowances

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Disquiet has crept among lower-cadre staff in Parliament following a recent slash of per diems by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) for both local and foreign travel.

Sources within Parliament claim the junior staff are not happy with the massive reduction.

Some of the officers, who talked on condition of anonymity, complained that despite doing most of the technical work during trips, they have been the biggest losers in the new rates.

The changes were communicated through a memo dated August 23 from Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, who is also the secretary to the PSC, to the director of finance and accounting services.

“Following the publication of Gazette notice Vol. CXXIV-No. 145 dated July 27, 2022, by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and pursuant to Article 230 (4) of the Constitution, the applicable local and foreign daily subsistence allowance with effect from the date hereof, is as contained in the attached schedules,” it reads. “This memo supersedes all previous correspondence on this matter and is applicable across the parliamentary service.”

The memo has also been copied to the Clerk of the National Assembly and the director general, parliamentary joint services. 

One officer said the rates have demoralised most of them as they feel they have been unfairly targeted despite doing a lot of work in helping MPs perform their oversight role whenever they are travelling. “We will just work because we have no option, but we are not happy; others are on a silent go-slow.”

The officer also claims the reduction was sanctioned by senior management, and not SRC, attributing it to the number of people employed recently. In some positions where PSC needed two people, it ended up employing five or more, the source said. “We are suffering because they employed more people than the available slots. So they have to be accommodated through reduction of our allowances,” the source said.

The Parliamentary Service Commission sets the per diem rates for the lawmakers, and their staff such as lead committee clerks, their deputies, Media Relation Officers, researchers, legal counsels, and Hansard reporters among others for both local and foreign travel.

Locally, the new rates of daily subsistence allowances and local travel indicate that National Assembly members in Job Group U-V, including speakers, all MPs, Clerk of the Senate, Clerk National Assembly Grades F1, F2, and E5 going to Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Naivasha will get Sh18,200. Sh12, 600 is the per diem rate for Nyeri, Eldoret, Kericho, Kakamega, Kisii, Embu, Nanyuki, Nakuru, Lodwar and Garissa. Any other town per diem will be Sh10, 500.

Those in Job Group P-R, Grade E2, E1, and D5, among them chief sergeant-at-arms, will get Sh14,000 while in Nairobi Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Naivasha. Those visiting Nyeri, Eldoret, Kericho, Kakamega, Kisii, Embu, Nanyuki, Nakuru and Lodwar on assignments will get Sh10, 500, while in other towns they will get Sh8, 400

“The new rates mean that if I go to Mombasa for parliamentary work, I’m likely to come back with less than Sh5, 000 after paying for my accommodation,” said another officer.

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