The Kenyan government has declared Monday, May 2, 2016 a public holiday to allow Kenyans to celebrate Labour Day which always happens on the first day of the fifth month annually.
In a gazette notice released Friday, April 29, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said that Kenyans will take offs from their daily routines to celebrate workers in the country on Monday.
“It is notified for general information that Monday, May 2, 2016 will be a public holiday pursuant to Section 3 of the Public Holidays Act,” Nkaissery said.
Last year, the government increased the minimum wage by 12 per cent for the country’s lowest paid workers.
The gazetted monthly average minimum wage in urban areas, excluding housing allowance, is between Sh12, 136 (all other towns) and Sh15, 357 (Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu). The average pay set for the agricultural industry, is much lower at Sh6, 054 a month, with unskilled workers getting Sh4,854.
With a 12 per cent rise, the average minimum wages in the agricultural industry is currently Sh6, 780, with unskilled labourers — the lowest paid — getting Sh5,436. Average minimum wages in urban areas are between Sh13,592 and Sh17,199.
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has urged the government to improve workers’ welfare by increasing the minimum wage annually. However, the Federation of Kenya Employers has urged the government not to adjust the minimum wages upward this year, citing tough economic times. Instead, they say it should be done with a clear policy that is sustainable.
“This should be a very sober discussion that the trade unions, employers and the ministry of labour carryout not because it’s a labour day but because we have taken into account all the factors for wage determination, some of the factors include productivity, ability of our economy to create jobs, they include the impact of any wage increase on the ability of the informal sector to operate,” FKE’s Chief Executive Jacqueline Mugo.
Ahead of the celebrations, the rate of inflation in Kenya has been fallen steadily this year. April‘s inflation dropped to 5.27 percent from 6.45 percent according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.