Central Organization of Trade Unions – Kenya secretary general Francis Atwoli has directed 44 affiliated trade unions to immediately notify their respective employers of their intention to review the existing employee-employer agreements.
Workers have demanded a salary increase of 22 per cent to cushion them against inflation.
“The increase will cushion workers against harsh economic realities facing them now and Kenyans as a whole,” Mr Atwoli said in a statement.
He said that Kenya’s inflation rate has moved to 10.1 per cent from the previous 5.89 per cent according to the latest figures by the organisation’s economic and research department.
“Currently, the cost of living has been on an upward trend and the hardest hit are the workers who now want a general wage increase of at least 22 per cent to cushion them against massive losses in their purchasing power,” the secretary general said.
He went on: “In a few months and with no deliberate measures to address the situation amid an economy that is under strain, overall purchasing power for Kenyans will continue dwindling and these are clear signs and indicators of a collapsing economy”.
Mr Atwoli said that the situation could be worse in the coming five months as the country will be embroiled in politics at the expense of the economy.
With the drought facing many parts of the country, things will be bad if the Ministry of Labour fails to listen to workers, he said.
“Worse still, we are geared towards economic collapse if the government continues with its huge domestic and international borrowing where the country’s debt burden is becoming unbearable,” the secretary general said.
Mr Atwoli called on the National Treasury to be alive to the fact that this spells a gloomy future.
“Cotu calls upon all our affiliate trade unions to engage their respective employers without confrontation to review the existing agreements with a view to adjusting workers’ wages so they can meet their daily basic needs,” he said.