Ms. Jaqueline Mugo, Executive Director & CEO Federation of Kenya Employers represented employers at the 27th National Labour Board meeting on 1st -4th August 2023, at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel & SPA in Mombasa. Those in attendance included the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Florence Bore; Principal Secretary, State Department for Labour and Skills Development, Hon. Geoffrey Kaituko, Chairperson NLB, Mr. David Siele, Ag Labour Commissioner Mrs. Helen Apiyo and the representative of the ILO Regional Office Mr. Jealous Chirove, among others.
The objective of the meeting was to gives a status update on the finalization of the Kenya Decent Work Country Programme 2021-2024, give reports on the ILO Kenya interventions including Digital Economy, Labour Administration, discuss and advise on the ratification of ILO Conventions 181, 189 and 190, give update on the progress on the establishment of new Wages Councils (Seafarers), receive the report from the Sub- Committee on the Revocation of Recognition Agreement, get the status report for review and development of labour laws and finally receive the progress reports from heads of department in the Ministry of Labour.
While giving her remarks Ms. Mugo acknowledged the role played by the Nation Labour Bord in advising the Cabinet Secretary for Labour on all matters concerning employment and labour among others as prescribed under Section 5 of the Labour Institutions Act 2007. “As employers, we value the role of the National Labour Board in advising the Cabinet Secretary for Labour on all matters relating to Labour and employment. These include but not limited to; ILO Conventions that need to be ratified; general state of employment, training and manpower development in the country; appointment of members of the various council’s; the setting of compensation benefits under the Work Injuries Benefits Act; productivity measurement and improvement; registration, suspension and deregistration of trade unions and employers’ organizations; and any other matters related to these functions” she said.
The Executive Director, however, highlighted some of the employer’s concerns that the National Labour Board needed to note as they make policy decisions. These included.
- The high labour costs in addition to various business unfriendly practices which continues to push business away from Kenya thereby compounding the unemployment situation in the country.
- Low productivity disadvantages Kenya in a global market environment with her products competing with products from countries such as China, Japan, India and the west among others.
- Employment Situation in the country. The wages policy should support expansion of formal employment to absorb the unemployed youth in Kenya.
Ms. Mugo further called upon stakeholders to work collaboratively and engage in a meaningful way and offered some proposals that could make the business environment better. These proposals included:
- The government to Strengthen and uphold the principle of Tripartism.
- Creation of simple, predictable, stable, and coordinated policy and legal framework
- Entrenching the use of Social Dialogue in management of the economy
- Prioritizing the Labour sector, Job creation and enterprise productivity.
- Seizing opportunities provided by integration, devolution, and technology