NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) is urging employers to conform to the new minimum pay for their workers which was effected on Labour Day.
KUDHEIHA Secretary General Albert Njeru said employers should ensure that the minimum pay for their workers including that of housekeepers was pegged at Sh9,700.
Njeru said employers who refused to obey the directive risked paying hefty fines citing the recent Industrial Court ruling that awarded a domestic worker Sh175,000 after she took her former boss to court.
“Those who do not respect the order will be breaking the law and when you break the law there shall be consequences. We always say you are free until you are caught and remember the law is an ass,” he retorted.
Njeru argued it was important to address the pay discrepancies that exist among the workforce saying employers should stop complaining about the 14 percent pay rise.
He also said that the union would engage the Ministry of Labour to streamline their system and address payment concerns around live-in and live-out workers.
He, however, asked employers to remain faithful to the government’s directive and raise any concerns with the authorities.
“Wherever you go in this country, whether you live in Umoja, Kibera, Kileleshwa or Muthaiga, you should not go below a Sh9,700 salary from May 1,” he stressed.
Njeru at the same time took issue with the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) for complaining about the pay hike.
“We all go to the same supermarket. If it is Nakumatt, you will find that this is where the manager goes. You are also likely to find that this is where the sweeper and the clerk go so we do not have a difference in the purchasing power,” he argued.
“Why do you want the children of domestic workers to keep doing domestic work because they are not educated enough?” he posed.
FKE had taken issue with the 14 percent wage increment on minimum pay saying it was not in tandem with the current economic situation of the country.
FKE PR and Communications Manager Felix Otiato told Capital FM News on Thursday that the raise was way above the current 4.5 inflation rate and was not supported by productivity.
“The prevailing economic situation in the country makes it difficult to sustain annual wage increments that are not matched by productivity and general improvement in the economic outlook of the country,” read a statement from FKE.
He added that the government should instead focus on improving the country’s economy to reduce the cost of essential goods and services rather than push for an increased minimum wage bill.
Otiato also said that it is unfair for the government to keep increasing the employers’ wage bill in the middle of their year.
“Employers need time to budget and implement this increment. Our proposal is that we have these increments done in the third quarter of the year to give employers time to budget and implement them in January,” he explained.