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A fresh deal struck between the Ministry of Labour, trade unions and employers has thrown unionised workers under the bus.

The deal, dubbed Memorandum of Unions, now enables employers to suspend implementation of concluded Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs), review existing CBA terms, cancel ongoing negotiations and freeze wage increments.

It was concluded and signed by Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelgui, Federation of Kenya Employers Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo and Central Organisations of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli (pictured).

According to the ministry, the deal is meant to cushion firms from the Covid-19 pandemic. The terms of the agreement also require firms to report persons affected by Covid-19 at the workplace.

This is in order to help in nation-wide data collection on those affected by the virus. Employers have however been urged to be in agreement with their employees first through dialogue before adopting measures that could lead to layoffs and pay cuts.

“If upon the review of the CBA parties mutually agree to have employees work on alternate days, reduction of pay for the normal period of work, or proceed on unpaid leave for any duration of time, this shall not be construed as a break in employment service of the employee,” reads the agreement.

It also requires "mutually agreed" terms entered during this period to be put in writing and filed with the Labour Commissioner at the nearest labour office.

Signatories however stressed that the Sh13,572 minimum wage must be retained. Employers are also expected to provide protective clothing and equipment to workers at no cost to them. Work permits for migrant workers who lose their jobs due to the pandemic will still be valid for the stipulated time, the pact signed at the Ministry of Labour offices asserted.

Central Organisations of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli Labour Cabinet Secretary
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