COTU has urged the government to intervene and lower the cost of essential commodities whose prices have shot up as a result of high fuel prices.
Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli in a statement warned that if the government has no capacity to intervene and lower the prices, the workers union through its national delegates’ conference will equally demand for higher wages to compensate for the high prices of essential commodities.
“The increases in the cost of energy trigger inflation thus lowering the purchasing power of workers and Kenyans as a whole. Failure by the government to cushion workers against these increases then let it prepare for direct confrontation from workers in demand for pay increases from the entire labour fraternity and all sectors of the economy,” Atwoli said.
On Sunday, the Energy Regulatory Commission said fuel prices have gone up by more than Sh2 per litre.
Super petrol and diesel increased by Sh2.13 and Sh2.39 per litre respectively while kerosene went up by Sh3.36.
A litre of petrol now costs Sh106.30 in Nairobi up from Sh104.17, diesel Sh94.82 from Sh92.44, while kerosene goes for Sh74.78 per litre.
The ERC attributed the increase to “weighted average cost of imported refined petroleum products”.
The hikes come when a 2kg packet of maize flour is at Sh120 up from Sh90 following the end of a government subsidy on the staple product last month.
The price could rise even further if projections by Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) are accurate.
The report projects that a 90-kilogramme bag of maize is likely to increase to Sh3,900 by May.
A 90-kg bag of maize currently goes for between Sh3,000 and Sh3,400 but it will shoot to between Sh3,400 and Sh3,900 by May.
This represents a 27 per cent increase above the average price.
“If the government has no capacity to intervene and take immediate remedial actions to lower the cost of commodities, COTU will be compelled into convening its National Delegates Conference to strategize for a uniform action against the increases and demand for higher wages to compensate the daily high prices on essential commodities.”
Atwoli noted that stability of oil prices is essential for economic growth and its increase directly leads to a high cost of living.
He said it’s only a matter of time before the public transport sector takes advantage of the increase in fuel prices to hike fares.
“COTU wishes to remind Jubilee government of its campaigns promises to Kenyans for affordable energy, housing, free primary and secondary education and control of commodity prices.
“We are yet to witness a fully constituted government and the situation is already hurting poor Kenyans and as workers, we are keenly watching these unfolding situation against their campaign manifesto,” Atwoli said.