Employers’ Union takes battle with NSSF to ILO

Federation of Kenya Employers Executive Director Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo at a past function. She argues that the plot to kick workers’ and employers’ representatives from the board of trustees of the NSSF is in bad faith and uncalled for. [File, Standard]
The proposal by Government to remove both FKE and Cotu representatives from NSSF Board has now been taken before the International Labour Organization.

Federation of Kenya Employers Executive Director Mrs. Jacqueline Mugo told a packed 107th ILO conference in Geneva that a proposal by Kenya’s National Assembly to remove both employers and workers representatives from the Fund was in bad faith.

She said the tripartite nature of labour institutions should be respected and faulted the government’s move terming it as ill advised.

Instead she called on the Government to promote and strengthen both formal and informal social dialogue instead of fighting employers and workers at the NSSF as she asked the ILO to intervene.

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“Efforts by some governments to oust social partners from tripartite labor sector institutions such as Social Security boards, where they play a key role in driving changes to improve the work conditions, is ill advised and counterproductive,” said Mrs. Mugo, who is also the Secretary General of Business Africa, the employers continental body.

“The support of the ILOs is needed to create awareness and protect freedom of association of both employers and workers organizations.”

There have been plans to kick out workers’ and employers representatives from the board of trustees of the NSSF through the introduction of the proposed amendments to NSSF Act 2013.

The proposed changes are contained in the Statute Law (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018 in the National Assembly, which seeks to give powers to the Cabinet Secretary for Labour to appoint five people outside government to the Board of Trustees.

This has been done in total disregard to tripartite requirements on labour relations matter despite Kenya being a signatory to the ILO conventions domesticated in our constitution.

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“Strengthening both formal and informal social dialogue structures and tripartite institutions should be a priority of stakeholders in the Labour sector. In this regard, the role of social partners and their right to represent and speak for their members should be recognized and respected,” she said.

Mrs. Mugo who represents more than 15 employers’ organizations at this year’s 107th ILO Conference took the debate to the ILO calling for it intervention.

 “Social dialogue and tripartism are important for proper functioning of the labour sector. There should be a close correlation between the state of social dialogue and tripartism and the state of industrial peace and harmony.”

The FKE CEO, commenting on the ILO Director General Guy Ryder’s report, also called for gender equality at the work place.

“The Director General’s report indicates that few women have made it to the top of the corporate ladder. In addition, those women continue to occupy low- paying jobs and are more likely to suffer violence and harassment at work,” Mrs. Mugo said.

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“We agree that to achieve gender equality in the changing world of work, there is a need to bridge the gap between women’s aspirations and their labour market reality.” 

Mrs. Mugo said the majority of both women and men across the globe want women to work in paid for jobs and called on employers to equip women with the right skills and competencies that will enable them access better jobs.

“A number of Employer Federations in Africa are implementing programmes such as the Female Future programme aimed at building the capacity of women to take on higher-level roles in the corporate world and other spheres of society,” she explained.

Other initiatives include fair recruitment, compensations and promotion policies, flexible working arrangements and workplace support structures for young mothers.

“The ILO should support these initiatives and programmes in the developing economies to enhance the employability of women and reduce inequalities in this area.”

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