People Daily

Let’s engage in open talk, new Labour CS tells trade unionists

Robin Obino @obinorobin

Labour Cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani has urged workers’ unions planning industrial strikes to put them on hold and consider negotiations on the various grievances.

Speaking yesterday when he formally took over office from predecessor Phyllis Kandie, Yattani said he would engage stakeholders and social partners to tackle underlying issues affecting workers. Kandie has since been appointed Kenya’s envoy to Belgium.

This comes even as the Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) threatened demonstrations disruption of services in the higher learning institutions on March 1 after the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and the State department of Education failed to table a counter-proposal to their demands.

According to Kusu secretary general Charles Mukhwaya, the government has not demonstrated commitment to put the matter to rest. He faulted the ministries of Labour and Education as well as their employer IPUCCF for derailing the talks.

But the former Marsabit governor is optimistic that this, and other issues will be a thing of the past if proper mechanisms are put in place. He said most of the industrial unrest that has been witnessed in various sectors in the government has been as a result of poor mitigation mechanisms.

“This will be achieved through awareness campaigns which will aim to sensitise the workers on their rights,” he said. “The country has witnessed a series of industrial actions in the public sector in the recent past.

Some of the strikes have gone ahead even after being declared illegal by the Industrial Relations Court. This is not healthy for our economy.” Lecturers went on strike thrice last year over the 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement.

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