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Chelugui: Employers evade Labour office

By Mercy Mwai
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.
In summary

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The national government recorded a paltry 36,163 persons as having lost jobs due to the adverse effects of Covid-19. 

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Labour is a drop in the ocean compared to the data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), that showed about 1.72 million workers had lost jobs in three months to June when Kenya imposed coronavirus-induced lockdowns that led to layoffs and pay cuts.

The latest data tabled before the National Assembly Labour Committee, shows majority of employers do not file redundancy notices with the relevant ministry. 

Out of the 36,163 affected persons, 14,402 workers from 628 companies who were declared redundant are from the informal sector.

Redundancy notices

The report prepared by Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, shows most affected organisations are from the service sector with manufacturing having the highest number of employees who lost their jobs at 3,022, followed by the agriculture sector at 2,965 employees, most of them from the flower industry.

“The Ministry of Labour has continued to receive redundancy notices affecting employees in the informal sector from employers, as provided under Section 40 of the Employment Act 2007.

By early this month, redundancy notification from 628 companies affecting 14,401 workers in the informal sector had been received,” reads the report in part.

Chelugui regretted that it has been difficult to engage in any meaningful dialogue in view of the current protocols put in place due to the increased number of employees who are not unionised, yet have lost their source of livelihoods.

He said there is need to establish an Unemployment Insurance Fund, to cushion workers who lose jobs.

He further called for an urgent review of the country’s labour laws, to provide regulations to guide employers and employees during situations of emergencies.

“With the prolonged period of the Covid-19 pandemic, more workers are likely to lose their jobs while those on indefinite unpaid leave are likely to join the pool of unemployed workers,” the report adds.

The latest report also shows that employees who are on unpaid leave are 3,991 with 1,920 in the hospitality and service industries while 2,071 are in the horticulture and floriculture industry. Those affected and are due for compensation are 4,983.

Chelugui’s ministry says it has settled disputes between employers and workers resulting in the payment of terminal dues amounting to Sh124.7 million.

The report also shows that another 14,354 people in the informal sector associations and welfare groups have lost their livelihoods due to reduced revenues.

Already, the World Food Programme is supporting the government by providing Sh4,000 monthly stipend under the cash transfer initiative to 8,077 beneficiaries who have lost jobs in Nairobi County.

The report shows that during the pandemic, the government received 748 distress cases of Kenyan migrant workers from 34 counties with 4,105 of them repatriated back to the country.

Out of the number, 1,407 have been repatriated from the United Arab Emirates, 528 from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and 775 from the state of Qatar.

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