Industrial action not solution to economic woes

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“Employers are alarmed and opposed to the recent call by the COTU-K boss Francis Atwoli stating he would mobilise youths to burn down employer factories. This is illegal and goes against the principle of justified strike action. All leaders should have mindful speech and direct the nation in a manner that is in order with the accountability that each office requires” – FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo.

The Federation therefore appeals to the COTU- K boss to take a more reasonable position, in the case of matatu and truck drivers; due to the negative impact to the country’s economy, therefore hurting Kenyans who are planning for a rested holiday season. It is true that the cost of fuel is high and this is an opportunity for the government to mitigate the effects the current pricing has on all Kenyans.

It is also true that inflation has risen persistently over the last one year from a low of 3.18 in October 2010 to a high of 19.72 in 2011. The country is currently characterised with high interest rates, high fuel and electricity prices. These high prices have a direct effect on the cost of production and therefore the cost of goods and services. This high cost of living has eroded Kenyans purchasing power.

There is a desperate need to create a better Kenya for all. The increase in the cost of labour will by no means result in increased production of goods and services but increase in the amount of money in the economy will fuel inflation.

The government therefore needs to re-prioritise its expenditure and lower the costs of energy by addressing the inefficiencies in this sector and reduce the taxes on fuel and electricity. This will substantially bring down the transportation costs, production costs and therefore prices of goods and services. We need to create a better Kenya for all.

Out of the 10.96 million Kenyans recorded as employed, only two million are employed in modern establishments both in the urban and rural areas. This constitutes only 18.2 percent of the working population with the rest involved in the informal sector.

We know that the cost of raw material in Kenya is high because of: (1) the exchange rate volatility, (2) high cost of fuel, (3) high taxes and (4) the dilapidated infrastructure and poor road network.

Let us remember that industrial action is no solution to the economic woes in Kenya, more importantly, we must bear in mind that the actual effects of inflation are as a result of system inefficiencies and high taxes, therefore the government must act now to make life better for Kenyans.

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