What interest does COTU boss have in MPs salaries?
30 April 2013, 15:36
The organisation for trade unions was set up way back in the sixties to serve as a voice for all the workers and labourers in the country. This was in line with the rising need for a unified voice that would bargain with employers to consider the interests and welfare of employees.
After its formation, the organisation became very vocal in ensuring the government sets reasonable wages for its civil servants and it also dictates the reasonable minimum wage for the private sector.
However, with the Kenyatta and Moi regime, the organization never achieved so much due to the tight grip that was on the neck of activists and anti-government persons.
Upon taking down the KANU era, Kenya realized a new dawn where people could air their grievances without the president reprimanding them.
Kibaki brought about openness and more transparency to the effect that industrial strikes became an order of the day for aggrieved parties in the labour circles.
Teachers and health professionals took to the streets whenever they felt shortchanged and with this arose a man who became known as the champion of workers’ rights.
Atwoli won the hearts of many by fighting endlessly for the rights of the employees in every sector registered under the COTU umbrella.
At Labour Day functions he was vocal for the government to always review upwards the minimum wage for employees both in government and private sector.
This served well for the low and middle class level as they were able to get substantial increases in their salaries and be able to invest as well as cater for their families and basic needs more effectively.
However, the COTU boss has of late become a champion for the legislators who are known for their greedy nature when it comes to salaries and benefits.
The newly established Salaries and Remuneration Commission recently reviewed the public officers’ salaries and mainly the legislators at national and county level to come up with a more considerable pay structure.
Although they made a simple division of the same wage bill in the tenth parliament by the increased number of legislators, the new figures had some consideration on the current economic situation.
This new pay structure seems to have resonated well with the tax payer but on the other hand, the legislators and the COTU boss seem to have an issue with the figures and mode of review.
MPs claim that the salaries accorded to them do not ‘befit’ their status. What is their status if I may ask?
On another scale, COTU boss - Francis Atwoli - is championing that the legislators’ pay be reinstated to the initial KES 851 000 in line with the convention of 1949 of the ILO that came into force in 1951.
Does this man realize that the numbers of these legislators has increased? Does he realize that the wage bill with the current figures standing at KES 541 000 is still unsustainable?
Does he realize that Kenyans cannot afford to sustain these legislators from their own pockets due to the already unbearable economic conditions?
One is left to question; how does the very man who has been all along championing for the rights of the less privileged on the basis of unbearable economic conditions turn his back on us to ensure that the wage bill is inflated at our very own cost?
If you caught him on TV on Sunday fighting for the so called rights of MPs and even threatening to call for a referendum you would suspect that the man is being fronted by some people behind the scenes.
His reasoning does not coincide with the current situation in Kenya.
We have over 400 legislators from MPs to senators, over 40 governors and over 1 400 county assembly representatives it is only logic to stem down the salaries in order to be a sustainable economy.
It is a shame for us to borrow money to pay salaries of law makers and it is very clear there are no returns expected since it is not a form of investment.
This men and women knew the salary scale they would be earning as early as December of 2012, if one was not in agreement he or she had the ample time to step aside and let others who are interested in serving the country take up the tasks and responsibilities.
More so it is very illogical to argue that you need an increase because your constituents want handouts; why in the first place do you entertain such habits as a policy maker?
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