The Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU (K) wishes to dismiss reports attributed to the Executive Director of the Federation of Kenya Employers, FKE Sis. Jacqueline Mugo that the continued increase of Minimum Wage to workers is pushing potential employers in the country to relocate to neighboring countries.
Equally it is misleading and makes no single economic sense for the FKE to claim that such increases have pushed the cost of doing business in the country by 30% when the very companies have been talking the same language over the years yet they are stuck here in Kenya and what all this means is that they are lying to Kenyans. If at all doing business in Kenya is expensive, why not proceed as of yesterday to Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia and anywhere else!
Kenya as a country is the satellite of all economic activities in the entire region and the headquarters of all these companies including those in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi among others; all their monies are here in the Kenyan Banks and for anyone to compare Kenya to say Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi or Egypt will be a clear mockery to the Kenyan workers and people as a whole since Kenya is far ahead of all these economies to compare.
At the same time, most of these companies in the region have loans from our Kenyan Banks thus economies of scale that Kenya enjoys cannot compare with any of these countries that FKE is citing and what the Kenyan workers are demanding for is only an average that can sustain them at work not even a living wage.
Infact, COTU (K)’s Economic and Research Department survey of 1987 observed that the Kenyan workers remain underpaid in the region since their entitled living wage as of 1987 was 37,000 meaning the least an employer should pay an employee to be able to meet and cater for his/her basic needs was 37,000 in 1987 and nowtoday with a pay of hardly 12,600 in Nairobi, one is still talking of being high, is the most outrageous thing ever in recent times to a worker.
COTU (K) has put its demand forward and we are happy with this week’s announcement by the President that he will consider our request and we caution employers not to pride in paying slavery wages to their employees.