The government is targeting to create 1 million new jobs in the manufacturing sector, according to Labour CS Ukur Yattani. Speaking at Uhuru Park during the Labour Day celebrations, the Labour CS noted that labour is identified as an enabler of Kenya’s social-economic sphere and plays a crucial role in the attainment of the Big Four Agenda, “Overall, the government will target to create one million jobs in the manufacturing sector and thereby raise the sector’s contribution to GDP from the current 8.5% to 15%,” he said.
Yattani noted the importance of industrial harmony and said mechanism to foster dialogue and reduce industrial conflicts have been set up, given that strikes have become persistent, especially in the education and health sectors. Measures put in place to mitigate strikes include establishing an alternative dispute resolution organ with a fully serviced secretariat to handle all labour related disputes, establishing a panel of conciliators to facilitate the process of dispute resolution, developing the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2018 expected to operationalize dispute resolution in both public and private sectors among other measures.
However, the events at the celebration didn’t pan out as expected from the few people who attended and those who were following proceedings at home given that there was no announcement on the wage increase. COTU boss Atwoli had already called for a 15% general wage increase, but the Labour CS Ukur Yattani said negotiations are still ongoing on the issue.