More than 600 workers at the Italian Space agency San Marco in Malindi are set to benefit from a new CBA.

This is after the Union of National Research Institute Staff of Kenya (UNRISK) signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the space agency and the Grassy Branch of Kenya which will benefit over 600 workers at the agency.

The agreement was signed at the Italian Space agency located at Ngomeni area in Magarini and will enable each of the workers to benefit from a six percent salary increase for a period of years.

UNRISK’ s Secretary-General Zacharia Achacha said in the four years the Kenyan workers at the Space agency will get a pay rise of 24 percent.

Mr Achacha said the CBA is in effect from January 1 2021 and shall expire on December 31, 2024.

"In this CBA workers are going to benefit from several allowances including house allowances, leave allowances, traveling allowances, shift allowances, overtime and a lot of other benefits that are reflected in this CBA," he said.

The Secretary-General said it was not easy to achieve that during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic period but they tried their best and managed to reach an agreement and finally signed the CBA.

He said the managers of the Italian Space Agency traveled all the way from Italy so as to sign the CBA.

"Workers are very happy about it and we as a union are also satisfied as a Union that the CBA meets all the criteria and will assist the workers during this hard economic time," he said.

The unionist said the Italian space agency was in itself and the workers are aiding in the space research with some of them working deep in the Ocean, while others monitor the agency.

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He said others were General workers such as drivers, scientists, research officers’ research scientists among others.

Mr. Achacha said all workers working under the Italian Space agency are beneficiaries of the CBA which had been signed.

Initially and before the CBA was signed, a fireman or crane operator was getting a salary of Sh32,000 but from January this year, the category of workers will take home a salary of Sh34,000.

"By January 2022 this fellow will take home a basic salary of Sh36,000, and by January 2023 this fellow is going to take home a salary of Sh37,000 and by the end of this CBA the fellow will be taking home a salary of Sh. 40,000. From Sh32, 000 to Sh40, 000 that is an increase of Sh8, 000 for the four years,” he said.

Peter Nyambok, a trustee of the union who accompanied the secretary-general said fighting for workers’ rights is not an easy task as both sides normally are fighting with managers opposing and workers demanding to get increment.

As a Union, he said at times they go slow to plead with the management of workers so as to achieve the objective of getting what they wanted to achieve.

"What is important is that workers must respect the rules of work, to be defended by the union does not guarantee them a chance to fail to work effectively, all of them must safeguard their work," he said.