Employees complain of poor pay
Published Wed, May 2nd 2018 at 10:21, Updated May 2nd 2018 at 10:24 GMT +3
Some workers in Kisumu County labour for up to 12 hours daily in dangerous environments for as little as Sh5,000 a month.
This is far below the set minimum wage of Sh13,475.
Workers’ representatives told those attending Labour Day celebrations Tuesday that the low pay is to blame for poverty and the mushrooming of informal settlements in Kisumu.
Kisumu Governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, who attended the celebrations at the Kenyatta Sports Ground, was shocked as the workers narrated their plight.
Many of the workers said they spent up to 10 years working either as casuals or on unfavourable contracts, and were barred from joining unions to stifle their ability to fight for better terms.
Unionists representing workers from various sectors of the economy said the mistreatment was perpetrated by outsourced companies, hired by employers “to absolve themselves of the responsibility of ensuring their employees are properly remunerated and working environment is secured.”
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Central Organisation for Trade Union’s Nyanza chairman Vincent Okullo said many collective bargaining agreements were not honoured by employers. “Some of them (employers) even withhold workers’ certificates so that they cannot look for greener pastures,” he said.
Security guards, he said, were the hardest hit, pushed to work extra time but paid peanuts.
Prof Nyong’o promised the county government workforce a recognition agreement this year. He said an inherited bill of Sh3.6 billion in unremitted statutory deductions had been cleared.
He said the county government was angling to take over the management of Miwani, Chemelil and Muhoroni sugar companies to offer more jobs.
Wage increase dashed workers’ hopes for better pay
In Mombasa, COTU representatives demanded that employers be compelled to allow employees to join trade unions.
Speaking at the Tononoka Grounds Tuesday, COTU Mombasa branch secretary Gedion Mutiso said some workers had been denied permission to join trade unions.
“My office has received several complaints regarding failure by employers to allow their workers to join unions of their choice. We now want both the county government and the national Government to compel the employers to allow their workers join unions,” Mutiso said.
He said currently, close to 60 per cent of all workers in Mombasa are unionised. “We want at least 90 per cent of the workers to join trade unions,” he said.
Mutiso called on persons working as domestic workers in homes in Mombasa to enrol with Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels Education Institutions and Hospitals Allied Workers for proper bargaining. He said domestic workers go home with as little as Sh2,000 per month, yet they are overworked. Mutiso said those who had joined Kudheiha take home Sh7,500 while others earn Sh14,000 per month.
In Uasin Gishu County, there was a low turnout for Labour Day celebrations at 64 Stadium. The absence of Labour officials at the event raised a storm with COTU, saying they would have helped provide solutions to the challenges facing workers.
Uasin Gishu COTU branch official Peter Ondima said some companies did not to set labour laws.
Kenya County Government Workers Union Uasin Gishu branch chairperson Evans Makhoka said workers had been unable to secure loans from saccos despite making regular contributions.
“If the county officials were here, they could have set the record straight because there have been complaints from some workers who have not been able to access their money in saccos despite being prudent in remitting their money,” he said.
Kenya Farmer Association (KFA) director Kipkorir Menjo challenged the government to pay farmers who sold maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board their dues.