Kenyans disappointed as gov’t fails to announce pay raise on Labour Day

Kenyans disappointed as gov’t fails to announce pay raise on Labour Day

Kenyan workers were left disappointed after the government failed to announce an increase in the minimum or general wage during Labour Day celebrations on Wednesday.

A salary increment was one of the major expectations for the day considering the tough economic times and a plan by the government to introduce a 1.5% levy on employees’ salaries to finance President Kenyatta’s Housing development agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta did not attend the event, but Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani, in his speech, only indicated that there would be discussions on the matter later in the week.

“I wish to state here that we are in the process of negotiating at the wages council between employers and employees so that a negotiation on whether its going to be a wage increase. We are going to discuss later in the week,” said Yattani.

The failure by the government to announce a salary increment only served to compound the controversy surrounding the 1.5% housing levy.

The Central Organization for Trade Unions (COTU) has proposed a 15% general wage increase insisting it would help cushion Kenyans from 1.5% housing levy — a position opposed by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), which boycotted the Labour Day celebrations.

“We want a 15% general wage increase. Once we get that, President Uhuru Kenyatta is free to deduct the 1.5% housing levy,” said Atwoli.

Addressing the media earlier in the week, FKE Chairman Mark Obuya said it is not the government’s mandate to increase salaries of employees who are not public servants.

Obuya however said FKE has already filed a case in court, accusing the government of failing to involve them before coming up with the housing levy, which will see employers and employees contribute 1.5 percent each towards the fund.

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