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Trade Unions want more powers to help employees

24 May 2012, 13:18 Alloys Musyoka

Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers want the government to give them mandate to inspect local firms and industries in the country in order to waive issues affecting millions of Kenyans across the country.

North coast's region coordinator Timothy Chogo said the government should give them constitutional powers to inspect all firms and industries in order to ensure that workers rights are not defiled.

He said many employees in the region working for various companies suffer a lot by being under paid by their employers, harassment and poor working conditions among other problems.

”In this region employees are really suffering because of being underpaid by their employers and because we are no mandated in inspecting documents  for firms we are unable to help them,” he noted.

Chogo went further to add that about 70 per cent of firms in the region refuse their employees from joining trade unions which make it difficult for the union to assist them.

“You can imagine whenever employees attempt to join any trade union in the  region their employers fire them and that has continued for long time. So workers are suffering because of bad terms and conditions of work but since they fear to be fired hey don’t join trade unions,” he asserted.

The solution to the burning issue, Chogo noted is the government mandating Trade Unions to inspect firm’s documents, a role which he added is currently given to Labor Ministry.

“We can help many employees but only if the government gives us powers to go through firms s’ records and see if employees are paid according to the stipulated minimum wages,” he noted.

Currently, Chogo said many firms pay their employees below 6,000 shillings which is against the minimum wages stating the importance of government intervention by empowering Trade Unions to fight the vice.

The region he noted has about 40 firms but only seven had allowed their employees to join trade Unions.

He said also the government can force employers to allow their employees to join trade Unions since they have those powers.

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