NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – President Mwai Kibaki has announced a 13.1 per cent pay increment on the basic minimum wage for all workers in the country.
Making the announcement during the Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park Nairobi, the Head of State in a message read by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the increment was meant to cushion workers against the high prices of commodities.
“To meet our workers half way, I have directed the Ministry of Labour to implement a rise to the minimum pay of 13.1 per cent,” he said.
Last year, the government raised the minimum wage by 12.5 percent which was aimed at reducing the impact on the bulging food and fuel costs.
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) had demanded a 60 per cent increase.
The President assured that the government would continue to ensure that mechanisms for wage review, transparency and fairness were in place to address the challenge.
He said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission had been established to provide avenues for regular review of the remuneration of all public officers.
“The Commission will also advise the national and country governments on remuneration matters of public officers,” he added.
President Kibaki, however, regretted that the demand for employment opportunities had surpassed the rate at which the economy was generating such employment vacancies.
The Head of State, however, urged workers and the labour movement to always pursue their grievances through the available labour laws and the established institutions while exercising their constitutional rights and freedom to go on strike.
Noting that there was need for appropriate training and placement of workers in their relevant fields, the President said the Industrial Training Policy had been developed to streamline linkage between training institutions and the job industry.
He noted that following the adoption of free labour movement protocol in the East African Community, Kenya was expected to take advantage of exporting labour in the region.
The Head of State assured that the government would undertake bilateral agreements with key destination countries to ensure orderly deployment of skills and expertise as well as protect migrant workers from the country while abroad.
The President cautioned those seeking employment abroad to be extra vigilant, saying that there were some dishonest individuals and fake agencies out to exploit them.
“While Kenyans are encouraged to seek employment across our borders, they are cautioned to be on high alert to existence of some dishonest persons and agencies out to exploit them,” the President warned.
President Kibaki assured that the government will not relent in identifying and cracking down on such malpractices of unscrupulous private employment agencies.