, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Workers will be demanding a 20 percent increase in their minimum wage during the Labour Day celebrations set for Friday.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli complained that the wages had not been increased for the past two years despite promises by the government, further accusing now suspended Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi for being a hindrance to the workers getting a wage increase.
“Minimum wage must go up by more than 20 percent — what is 20 percent of Sh6, 000. These people are scaring the President that he should not increase the workers pay, yet the majority of workers do not even earn Sh10, 000,” said Atwoli.
Atwoli said as soon as the issue of minimum wage was addressed, it would be easier to work with provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which demand data based on cost of living and the inflation rate.
He took a swipe at Kambi for allegedly neglecting workers saying he had failed in his role of bridging the gap between employers, workers and the President and instead worked for the interests of his cronies.
“He failed to facilitate the tripartite members and social partners to access you easily and talk to you (President), and we could not get you – now you have given us an acting CS, come and listen to us – we have been patient,” implored Atwoli.
Owing to the new changes in the Labour docket, he called for the setting up of a meeting between the government, workers and employers to resolve the issues that ail the three institutions which have constantly led to strikes stating that their interaction with the government has only been through the courts.
He further lamented that many of the industries had made immense profits yet their workers were poorly paid, threatening to ‘name and shame’ industries and companies that did not consider the plight of the workers.
“We expect the Head of State to show up because we have invited him,” he said.
He urged the President to look at the plight of workers going ahead to accuse Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) of side-stepping the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and selfishly propagating their agenda at the expense of hard working Kenyans.
Speaking during a pre- golden jubilee celebration meeting at the COTU headquarters, where he had invited workers represented by COTU, Atwoli urged them to turn out in their numbers at Uhuru park grounds for the Labour Day celebrations saying this would push the government to consider their pleas.
“They should know that we have numbers, we want to surpass the turnout in last year’s celebrations,” stated Atwoli.
He further dispelled the notion that he eyeing an elective position saying he was satisfied with his job as a defender of workers.