, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) say they object the proposed National Social Security Fund Bill 2013 saying that it has been amended to oust representatives of both bodies.
Executive Director of the federation Jacquline Mugo on Saturday called for the immediate withdrawal of the Bill before it gets to Parliament.
“FKE and COTU find the government’s actions to be dishonest and against the spirit of consultations adopted during the drafting process and have no option but to demand the Bill be withdrawn by the Attorney General,” said Mugo.
She says they suspect mischief being played on the part of the government as they were not consulted in the amendments made in the Bill.
“We previously raised concerns over attempts by the government to sneak amendments to the draft without consultations and this is what exactly has happened even after the government promised to adopt a consultative approach in decision making and honour the agreements reached,” she added.
Mugo noted that the amendments give the Cabinet Secretary of Labour Kazungu Kambi the power to appoint any individual or person in the pretext of representing their members.
She further explained,” removal or exclusion of the FKE or COTU from the Fund is violation of the international labour laws which state that worker and employer organizations have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules to elect their representatives in full freedom and adds that the public authorities shall refrain from any interference.”
Officials of the two organizations said that their concern is heightened by the proposed enhancement of the level of contributions from the current Sh200 per employer/employee by an envisaged 6 percent.
Deputy Secretary General of COTU George Muchai says that they want immediate dialogue between them and the Ministry of Labour before finalizing any decision.
“We will jointly seek audience with the relevant parties and formally write a letter and this is the starting point of engaging in the dialogue as we are charged with the responsibility of letting the people we represent know on what goes on even behind the scenes,” said Muchai.
Retirement Benefits Authority Chief Executive Officer Edward Odundo on Wednesday said the law makes it difficult for employees to opt for other private pension schemes for their staff.
Odundo added, though the Bill creates room for employers with sound benefit schemes to opt out of the mandatory NSSF contributions, the conditions for opting out have not been well defined under the proposed law.
“What is going to happen to private pension schemes that are there today, are we going to scrap them?” he asked.
Odundo says the structure of NSSF should also be addressed in order make it more efficient.
The Bill is set to be presented to Parliament by majority leader Aden Duale when the National Assembly resumes normal sittings on September 17.