[Documents menu] Documents menu

Kenya To Reform Labour Sector

Panafrican News Agency, 18 January 2001

Nairobi - Kenya has embarked on an ambitious reform programme to make the country's labour sector more competitive in the new economic order.

Dropping the hint Thursday, Labour Permanent Secretary, Joshua Terer spoke of the appointment of members of a labour review task force, as a first step towards that direction.

Terer, who spoke during a meeting with officials of the Federation of Kenya Employees (FKE), said that in addition to the appointment, the Kenyan cabinet had also passed a proposal to ratify an international convention outlawing child labour.

Key in the envisaged labour reforms would also be the free movement of labour within member states of the recently re-launched East African Community, Terer said.

The establishment of the East African Industrial Court and the harmonisation of labour laws in the EAC region were also high on Kenya's reform agenda, the Permanent Secretary disclosed.

During the meeting, the FKE team led by Executive Director, Tom Owuor, listed several complaints, among them the wanton registration of splinter trade unions.

Owuor also asked government to act on key recommendations made by the country's labour advisory board. The recommendations include the regularisation of the industrial relations charter and the establishment of an appellate division at the Industrial Court.

He suggested that the authority to register trade unions be vested with the industrial court, saying it was better placed than the High Court, to understand the dynamics of the labour sector.

The meeting agreed to start the process of legalising the Industrial Relations Charter to give legal mandate to its provisions.

It also noted that under the current trend in which observance of international labour standards was becoming a pre-condition for doing business in the international market, it had become imperative for Kenya to fully recognition and ratify all ILO conventions.

Copyright 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by allAfrica.com. For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.