NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20- The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has defended MPs who are out to oust members of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for slashing salaries of lawmakers.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli accused the salaries team of engaging in what he termed as ‘unfair labour practices’ by reducing MPs pay instead of improving it.
Atwoli said that the country decided to have an increased number of legislators and should maintain them at the same level as those of the 10th parliament.
“If we have an increased number of MP’s we should maintain the salaries from the previous parliament and improve it as the economy grows instead of reducing it,” Atwoli said.
“You cannot make a worker worse by reducing his salary or paying retrogressively; that is discrimination and you will be applying unfair labor practices and creating poverty,” he added.
Addressing shop stewards at COTU headquarters in Nairobi, Atwoli said the union fully supports a petition filed by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi to remove the Sarah Serem-led team from office.
He said the union’s support for Linturi is attributed by the commissions resolve to seek involvement in the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) signed by workers of different institutions including those of parastatals.
“If the salaries team is constitutional, Kenyans made the constitution and we are ready to go to a referendum so that Kenyans can decide if they want to live with it. Workers wages are freely negotiated for so do not interfere with CBA’s as much as you want to interfere with MP’s salaries,” he warned.
The stand taken by COTU is supported by a recent legal opinion by Attorney-General Githu Muigai which excluded parastatals from the list of public entities whose workers’ remuneration can be determined by the SRC “because they did not qualify as public officers”.
Atwoli’s view on the SRC sharply contradicts the position taken by the Chairperson of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Charles Nyachae who has accused the MPs of unfairly targeting the salaries team.
Nyachae said the move by MPs to disband the commission because they are not satisfied with their salaries is ill-intentioned because they are bitter.
A section of MPs have been protesting after the salaries team slashed their monthly pay from 851,000 to 535,000 shillings.