FKE calls for dialogue ahead of election

In Summary

• The Federation spoke on Thursday during its 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held via virtual means, urging politicians and the public to embrace more issue based politics.

• The theme of the AGM was “Covid-19 and the World of Work.

(FKE) Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo, National president Habil Olaka and former National president Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI
(FKE) Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo, National president Habil Olaka and former National president Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has urged politicians to exercise tolerance and accommodation in selling their manifestos and in handling emerging differences.

The Federation spoke on Thursday during its 62nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held via virtual means, urging politicians and the public to embrace more issue based politics.

"As a Federation we are keen to see political dialogue focused on a more inclusive economic model that spurs business activity, builds enterprise resilience, and creates wealth and employment for the masses. This will lead to more households in Kenya being lifted out of poverty to middle class status," FKE said.

The theme of the AGM was “Covid-19 and the World of Work.

(FKE) Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo, National president Habil Olaka and former National president Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI
(FKE) Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo, National president Habil Olaka and former National president Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI

FKE also pointed out that as a country and as individuals, we should not let down our guard in the fight against covid-19, as experts have continued to warn that the Covid Delta Variant is more brutal than other variants experienced.

The federation has called upon all policy makers to continue to strengthen the healthcare systems and supplies, observe Covid-19 health protocols and guidelines and to also scale up the vaccination program.

"We urge the government to improve the supply chain systems to make vaccines more available and further to involve the Private Sector and Businesses in the Education and sensitization of the Public on the benefits of boosting immunity through vaccination," FKE said.

FKE National President Habil Olaka during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI
FKE National President Habil Olaka during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI

The pandemic has brought challenges of unprecedented magnitude thereby slowing down the momentum that had been built towards attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2020, 8.8 per cent of total working hours were lost globally– the equivalent of the hours worked in one year by 255 million full-time workers.

Total employment fell by 114 million and 30 million jobs that would have been created in 2020 were never created.

The global shortfall in employment therefore increased by 144 million and the working poverty rates have now reverted to those of 2015.

FKE Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI
FKE Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Mugo during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI

On the state of the labour market, FKE stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in the labour market and especially for those in the informal sector.

The government has continued to respond in several ways including proposing review or over overhaul of various legislations.

The Federation reiterated that social dialogue is important in any reform, including regulatory changes.

"The labour market functions well with strengthened social dialogue and engagements. We, therefore, call upon the government to promote inclusion, stability, and predictability in the regulatory environment," FKE said.

Former FKE National President Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI
Former FKE National President Joseph Obuya during a press briefing addressing the Covid-19 effects in the labour market at FKE headquarters, Waajiri House, Nairobi on Thursday, 22 July./WILFRED NYANGARESI

This will ensure that the federation comes up with policies and laws that not only protect the vulnerable but also support the enterprises in these challenging times.

Of particular concern to the employers are proposals touching on the Social Protection Policy, Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the NHIF (Amendment) Bill 2021, the Health Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the 2021/2022 National Budget/Finance Bill 2021.

The Federation further stated that if the current taxation trend continues, the country should prepare for more job losses and business closures.