Cabinet Secretary for Labour Simon Chelugui says, the war between Ukraine and Russia has affected the global economy as commodity prices will once again shoot.
Speaking during the opening of a two days Employers Annual Conference in Mombasa that attracted African and International labor stakeholders, Chelugui noted that Kenya’s economy was already experiencing some recovery from covid 19 and since Russia is a large market to its exports a negative impact is expected.
Chelugui said the war has resulted in the blockade of the exports, where commercial planes are being diverted from Ukraine and moving from Europe to the Far East which he said will double the cost of traveling and shipment of commodities through the air because of rerouting.
The Cs further added that, the new air move has affected the doing of business and market borrowing because of new trade and movement embargoes to be imposed.
Kenya’s exports of tea, flowers, coffee, and fruits to Russia have been derailed in the wake of sanctions imposed on Moscow by Western nations after its invasion of Ukraine, hurting local smallholder farmers.
“My appeal to employers, engage with the Union in good faith now that the economy is recovering. Following economic recovery, employers should return back to the pre-covid environment and re-start their engagement with their employees,” said Chelugui.
The CS applauded the Federation of Kenya Employers FKE for agreeing to meet with the Confederation of Trade Unions (COTU) and the government and through tripartite negotiation agreed to sign an MOU, which among others suspended CBAs.
“Let me also appeal to all employers to restart engagement with the Trade union on issues of negotiations of CBAs,” said the CS.
The CS said the government also successfully conducted trade unions elections last year as part of strengthening the institution of social dialogue.
He said the government has strengthened the management of NSSF and has ensured that upon retirement, a pensioner will receive their benefits within 38 days.
On his part, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli called upon the employers to embrace digital e-commerce in order to remain relevant in the global market.
“We must urge our Governments to come up with not only proposals, policy papers but legislations that can compel workers to embrace ICT as an enabler to practice digital economy,” he said.
Atwoli said FKE and other players in the labor market must focus on decent work and economic growth through embracing digital trade.