County face mask: Tailors protest over delayed payment

Isinya Polytechnic tailors have accused the County Minister for Education and Vocational Training for allegedly delaying their dues against their negotiated contract agreement

By Albert Lemomo

Isinya Polytechnic face masks tailors have faulted Kajiado County Government for delaying their payment after sewing over 100,000 masks for three weeks.

The agitated tailors accused the County Executive Committee Member for Education and Vocational Training for allegedly delaying their dues against their negotiated contract agreement.

According to their chairperson, Boniface Owiti several talks with the County officials had remained unanswered as their wages is yet to be remitted which he claimed they has been pushed into difficult situation as the effects of Covid-19 pandemic continue to bite.

“In the last three weeks our families have been forced to go without food since this is what many of us were depending on to buy food and pay rent and the situation is getting worse as the County continue to give empty promises,” said distressed Owiti.

He noted that qualified tailors had taken up the job with the hope that the County Government was going to honour the promise to provide more job opportunities locally and cushion the small-holder businesses from the Pandemic effects

However, he called on the Kajiado County Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku to come to their rescue to ensure their money is released since all the tailors depend on hands-on skills and they do not have any others means of survival during this hard-economic time.

Anne Akotsi, a tailor from Kitengela decried the harsh economic times as a result of losing her employment at a tailoring shop due to the pandemic and the offer to make masks for the County seemed to have open up an opportunity.

She lamented that the offer had put her family into a hard situation where they cannot afford a single meal after relocating from Kitengela to Isinya to make face masks ‘a painful labour’ which has not been paid for.

“This kind of inhumane treatment by Kajiado County Government has violated our livelihoods as Kenyans seeking small kind of opportunities to make ends meet during this time of Covid-19,” narrated the distraught tailor.

In his response to the plight of Isinya tailors, County CEC Jeremiah Ole Ncharo admitted the payment delays and called for patience among the tailors as the department is in the process of fast tracking the process to pay them as soon as possible.

“Indeed we have had payment delays affecting our tailors and as a Government we are working tirelessly to ensure that we resolve this matter quickly and amicably so that we can continue to make at least 300,000 more masks for Kajiado residents and we shall address the issue by next week,” Ole Ncharo promised the tailors.

Early, this Month Governor Lenku had commissioned Isinya Polytechnic to make face masks and sanitizers using the local youths and students from the institution that has a capacity of making 100,000 masks a week as well as 2000 500ml sanitizers a daily. Two more Vocational Training Institutes at Ole Kasasi, Kajiado North Sub County and at Namelok, Kajiado South constituency to boost production of the preventive gears.

Kajiado County face mask tailors are paid 7 Kenya shillings per mask as opposed to other Counties where a tailor is paid a minimum of 15 to 20 shillings per mask.

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