News / Africa

Kenya Employers Call Planned Union Strike Illegal

Kenyan protesters hold placards during a demonstration against food and fuel prices hikes in Nairobi, Kenya, April 19, 2011 (file photo).
Kenyan protesters hold placards during a demonstration against food and fuel prices hikes in Nairobi, Kenya, April 19, 2011 (file photo).
Michael Onyiego

Kenya's employers are blasting a planned strike by the country's unions over the minimum wage. With groups demanding a raise to help meet the rising cost of living, employers are calling the actions illegal.  

A standoff is developing between Kenya’s workers and Kenya’s employers over wages and the rising cost of living.

Kenya’s largest umbrella union, the Central Organization of Trade Unions, or COTU, is threatening a countrywide strike at the end of May if the government fails to raise the minimum wage by 60 percent.

At a Labor Day celebration on May 1, Labor Minister John Munyes announced an increase of 12.5 percent for the minimum wage.

However, COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli told the same crowd that nothing less than 60 percent would be acceptable, and promised action if the demand was not met.

Now Kenya’s employers are entering the fray. Speaking to Kenya’s NTV, the Federation of Kenya Employers called the planned strike illegal.  The group's executive director, Jacqueline Mugo, called the planned strike "unfortunate" and said the unions had failed to consult the relevant stakeholders.

But a spokesman for COTU, Adamas Baraza, says the unions have every right to demand higher wages.

"First I just want to refer them to a very simple document, our new constitution, which says every worker has got the right to go on strike," he said. "So which illegality are they talking about? We are guided by the new labor laws. It says very clearly that a strike can be convened by giving seven days notice. But instead of giving a seven days notice. COTU has given a 21 days notice."

COTU has also dismissed claims that it cannot speak on behalf of workers in Kenya. The umbrella organization consists of 31 trade unions and has over 1.5 million members.

Baraza says the strike would begin on May 23 if the government failed to meet the 60 percent increase.  He also said the strike would not consist of any demonstrations or public action, and reaffirmed that the organization was ready and willing to discuss the minimum wage with the Kenyan government.

The strike was called in response to rising fuel and food prices in Kenya over the past few months. Since the New Year, food prices have risen by an estimated 30 percent, and fuel prices are currently at an all-time high in the east African nation.

The May 1 announcement by Munyes brought the minimum wage in Kenya to about $90 per month, up from around $80.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid