COTU (K) SECRETARY GENERAL STATEMENT DURING THE 107TH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE IN GENEVA SWITZERLAND, ON 31ST MAY,2018
The President of the 107th Session of the Conference
Vice- Presidents of the Conference
Heads of Delegations and Ministers Present
Ladies & Gentlemen
- On behalf of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Kenya) COTU (K) and on my own behalf, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Director General for presenting a focused and relevant report on the obstacles to gender equality and how they can be overcome as the ILO transitions to its Second centenary.
- It is no doubt that since the ILO’s founding, much work has been done by the organization and its constituents with respect to promoting gender equality. Globally, however, progress has been slow, uneven and uncertain in many respects.
- COTU (K) therefore welcomes the report’s sobering observation that things cannot remain the same as it is no longer a viable alternative to the gender challenge.
- COTU (K) notes that, the care economy can play a significant role in the push for gender equality if it is properly managed through proper policy integration at national, regional and the International levels.
- The rapidly growing need of the aging societies in many developed and emerging economies requires a huge investment which will include having a ready supply of properly trained manpower to support this aging demographic.
- To encourage the uptake of the many job opportunities presented by care economy, it is imperative that Governments working with Social Partners and with the support of the ILO and other International institutions must be of necessity to create an enabling environment to support decent work conditions and outcomes in this sector.
- While we agree that the working environment has changed dramatically over the years due to technological advances and the changing nature of work, many societies and communities are yet to reconcile work and non-work responsibilities.
- This non- recognition of unpaid work remains one of the greatest obstacles to advancing gender equality and needs to be addressed through reconciling the time spend in work and the so called non-work responsibilities by both men and women.
- The evolution of the flexible working arrangements to fit in with changing work demands and the needs of modern workers presents a good opportunity for workers to rebalance the time devoted to paid work and family needs thus ensuring that both men and women enjoy equal time in sharing responsibilities across both spectrums.
- We also concur that for many developing countries, the need to invest sufficiently in infrastructural development including roads, energy, water and communication remains central in strengthening the capacity of many women in low rural settings to have greater control of their time.
- We at COTU (K) therefore take this opportunity to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for unveiling the Big Four development agendas which seek to boost employment in sectors with great potential of attracting a large majority of unemployed youth and women.
- More so, these four which include, boosting food security, provision of affordable housing, expanding manufacturing and affordable healthcare will have significant positive impact in closing the gender gap in employment.
- We further congratulate the President and the Rt. Hon Prime Minister, Raila AmolloOdinga for their decision to shake hands and reconcile their political differences after their bitterly contested General elections of 2017, something which has brought about the country’s political, social and economic stability and provided the necessary enabling environment for investment and economic growth needed to realise the achievement of the President’s Big Four Agenda.
- COTU (K) therefore calls upon the Kenya Government to rescind the proposed amendments in Labour laws which are aimed at limiting the workers and employers’ independence in choosing their representatives to the Key tripartite institutions such as the National Social Security Fund, the National Hospital Insurance Fund and the National Industrial Training Authority.
- Such changes which seek to make it harder for workers to exercise their right to strike and also give the Minister power to declare certain services to be essential and therefore be illegal for workers in such sectors to exercise their right to strike are against the ILO fundamental Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 and should be abandoned altogether.
I Thank You.
Francis Atwoli NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS