The minimum wage has been raised by 5 percent, 13 percent lower than what was being demanded by Central Organization Trade Union (COTU). COTU was pushing for an increment of 18 percent.
The minimum wage was increased by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his speech during the Labor Day celebrations. The Head of State, however, did not attend the event but was represented by the Labor Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatan.
In his Speech, Uhuru called on various stakeholders to embrace dialogue in solving the ongoing strikes. Lecturers have been on strike for nearly two months now demanding for the implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
A day before the Labor Day celebrations, the association of Kenyan employers had warned the state against increasing the minimum wage, stating that it was prone to hurt the economy. According to the employers, the increase would skyrocket the cost of doing business.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers, (KAM) was also against the increase of minimum wage saying that the economy was still recovering from a long and violent election and an increase in salary may be unsustainable.
“A ceremonial wage increase will not help us to tackle the subject of poverty eradication in a sustainable way,” read a statement from KAM.
The Labour Day wage increment has become one of the biggest challenges to the industry in Kenya, especially because it is not linked to productivity.