COTU SG Francis Atwoli on Monday called on President William Ruto to implement a moderate wage increment strategy for all workers.
Speaking during the Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Atwoli emphasized the need for fair wages that can support workers and their families, especially given the current high cost of living that is overburdening Kenyans financially.
He believes that such an increment will strengthen many households as the government works towards flattening the ailing economic curve.
Atwoli’s call for a moderate wage increase comes in the context of the economic challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which have had a significant impact on workers and businesses across the country.
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“I know we are in both political and economic quagmire but bearing in mind that all of us including workers are involved in the restructuring of the economy,” said Atwoli. “Your incentive to these workers is only in one form, a consideration of a moderate wage increase.”
The COTU SG praised President WIlliam Ruto for implementing reforms aimed at increasing the contributions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), saying that these measures will play a critical role in safeguarding the livelihoods of many Kenyans.
Atwoli further explained that increased contributions to the NSSF will help prevent old-age poverty among retired persons, as the contributions will provide sufficient support to sustain them.
“We are glad that we are part and parcel of the 6% and we know for sure that when we exit from being employees we will be able to benefit from that,” he said.
On NHIF he added: “COTU thanks you for appointing a new chair and a board of the NHIF. We are sure that they will lead the board into making new reforms and making sure that NHIF is closer to its mandate and assist Kenyans from all shades.”
As of February, NSSF contributions in Kenya were increased from a flat rate of Ksh. 200 to a 6% deduction on an employee’s monthly income, with a matching contribution from their employer.
This brings the total contribution to 12% per month, in line with the NSSF Act of 2013, which requires employees to contribute 6% of their salaries, with a corresponding 6% contribution from their employer.
For employees in Tier 1, who earn Ksh 6000 per month, this means a deduction of Ksh. 360 per month, with their employer contributing an equal amount, totalling Ksh. 720.
This increase in contributions is expected to enhance social protection for Kenyan workers, particularly in retirement, and help to prevent old-age poverty.