Dejected employees have walked home empty handed after the government ignored calls by the Central Organisation of Trade Unons (COTU) to increase the general wage by 15 percent.
COTU had indicated that the wage increase would support the 1.5 percent housing levy proposed by the government, a move that would see Kenyans subscribe to the Affordable Housing Scheme under the Big 4 Agenda.
The union’s Secretary General Francis Atwoli said the government will overburden employees with the housing levy, arguing that increase in wages is the only way to ensure the housing levy is implemented.
However, speaking during the Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the government will need more time to consider COTU’s request.
CS Yatani said negotiations with the wages council are ongoing and the decision will be announced soon.
Leaders who attended the celebrations slammed the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) for skipping the event.
Speaking at the event, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) secretary general Wilson Sossion, who is also a nominated MP, told off the employer’s union for snubbing the crucial ceremony.
“It is a shame that the Federation of Kenya Employers has skipped this event. If you start a war with Atwoli, you have declared war with poor Kenyans and all of us.The labour movement is meant to ensure good governance and transparency in any nation,” said Sossion.
Earlier, FKE Chairman Mark Obuya condemned the salary increment calls, saying it is not the government’s mandate to increase salaries of private entity employees.
Unlike in the past, few Kenyans graced the ceremony.
Some of the leaders who attended the event, skipped by president Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, include: NASA leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula among other government officials.