KEPSA says no to wage increase

April 29, 2011
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) said on Friday that it does not agree with the government\’s consideration to increase wages by 10 percent.

KEPSA said although it understands the demand for the increase amidst the high cost of living, such a move would do more harm to the people it is intended to help.

"Wage increments should be the last resort because of negative effects such as massive job losses, increased casual employment, passing the increased labour cost to consumers," said Patrick Obath, Chairman of KEPSA.

KEPSA insisted that the Wages Council should be the one to recommend an increase in accordance with the Laws of Kenya.

"The issue of minimum wage should not be politicised. It is not for the employers, workers or the government to make a unilateral public suggestion. The law states that minimum wages should only be increased once every two years," said Mr Obath.

KEPSA argued that this process had not been followed and even if the wage increases were to go through, they would not benefit every employee.

"The minimum wage statement only affects people who are not represented in different sectors, so you find that the house boys and house girls are affected. The increment is not on a blanket basis," said Mr Obath.

On the contrary, Mr Obath gave alternative solutions that he believes would help cushion a greater percentage of the population from the hard economic times.

For a start, he suggested bringing down the cost of electricity and fuel through a tax reduction, but also urged Kenyans to be more responsible in energy efficiency for the long term.

"Look at how we are inefficient in our own homes and the way we use things. There are a lot of things we can do individually to reduce our cost of living rather than always running to increase wages. Let use energy and fuel efficiently and be more creative in the way we try to minimize our costs."
 
The government will announce the increase of the minimum wages this Sunday.

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