By Kazungu Chai and James MwambaiÂ (PSCU)
President Uhuru Kenyatta today raised the minimum wage by 12 percent.
Announcing the pay increment when he presided over this yearâ€™s International Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, the President said the raise is aimed at alleviating the plight of the lower strata of the Kenyan workforce.
â€œLast year we did not increase the minimum wage because we said we should work first. Today, we have increased the minimum wage because we have earned it,â€ the President said.
He assured that the Government is also working to enforce parity and equity in the terms, conditions of salaries of public servants.
As the Government moves to improve the welfare of the Kenyan worker, President Kenyatta said the clamor for increased pay should not only be pegged on the cost of living but also on the level of productivity of the worker.
He appealed to workers both in public and private sectors to double their productivity to boost economic growth and justify future pay increments.
â€œIt is important to understand that all our efforts are required to build and improve our countryâ€™s economy. The investor needs to understand that he cannot make profits without the worker. And that the worker cannot get salary without an employer,â€ said the President.
The President called on all Kenyans to join hands in building a strong and prosperous nation. He urged leaders to focus on serving Kenyans and shun utterances that divide the country.
â€œLet us not criticize for the sake of doing so. Let us be on the path of doing, let us try to make our country much better,â€ said the President.
On security, President Kenyatta said the Government is determined to make the country safe and is providing modern equipment to the security agencies and improving on their welfare.
He said Kenyans should also play their part by being vigilant, saying the country can only be safer if citizens work closely with the Government in security matters.
â€œTerrorist and criminals live amongst us, they know no tribe or religion. It is upon each one of us to know who our neighbors are and report those with ill motives. We should not politicize security issues,â€ the President said.
The Head of State affirmed that he will continue leading war against corruption, saying this is one of the ways of improving the countryâ€™s economy.
The occasion which also marked the 50th anniversary of the Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU), was also addressed by Acting Labour Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo. The CS asked the labour movement to maintain an atmosphere of tranquility which will accelerate economic and social development.
â€œSocial dialogue denotes open and respectful discourse between the key protagonists in the labour sector; the workers, their employers and Government,â€ she said.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli and KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said they supported the Presidentâ€™s efforts in the war against graft and urged him not to relent.
â€œYour efforts to fight corruption in this country have been noted strongly by all of us in the labour movement. We have resolved to stand by you to the bitter end. We will team up and support you in every step you take to salvage this country from corruption,â€ said Mr. Sossion.
Other speakers included Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero and the Federation of Kenya Employers Executive Director Jacquiline Mugo.