Storm over labour laws
Published Wed, May 2nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 1st 2018 at 22:05 GMT +3
Unionists have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and have the proposed amendments to labour laws withdrawn from Parliament to allow stakeholders to discuss them.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion and Federation of Kenya Employees Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Mugo said they would not allow passage of the Statutes Law (miscellaneous amendments) Bill 2018, as it is against the rights of workers.
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“These proposed changes have a wide ranging impact on the management of the labour market, and therefore need proper stakeholder consultations and engagement in line with the spirit of our national Constitution and International Labour Organisation Conventions,” said Ms Mugo.
Mugo said consultation would ensure a win-win situation for workers and the Government and prevent acrimonious relationship between the two.
“We are asking for your (Uhuru) intervention so that the proposals are withdrawn from Parliament to give the labour market stakeholders a chance to discuss and contribute to them as envisaged,” she said.
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If the National Assembly passes the proposals, workers intending to go on strike will have to give a 21-day notice, instead of the current seven.
The changes also seeks to entrench the Alternatives Disputes Resolutions practice in labour relations.
The proposal further seeks to raise the Labour ministry representation at the National Social Security Fund. This would give the Government more say in the workers’ fund.
Speaking during Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, the unionists dared National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale to push through the changes. Majority of the MPs, they said, are in support of workers and would reject the amendments.
“Somebody should tell Duale that the workers are coming (for him). Let him try. Let Duale know that there are so many policy makers who stand with the workers, and are willing to fight for their rights,” said Atwoli.
The officials said they were also opposed to amendments to the Higher Education Loans Board Act, the National Hospital Insurance Fund Act, the National Social Security Fund Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Labour Institutions Act.