1st May is one of the most important day in the lives of employees especially in Kenya since this is the day they all wait with bated breath for the new Wages Order.
If you have worked with unionized employees, then you must understand the importance of Bro. Atwoli’s speech on this day. The most unfortunate part is that the Wages Order declaration has been politicised in recent times. It is now been used to gain political mileage instead of actually aiming at benefiting the life of an employee.
After the government, the private security industry is the second largest employer in Kenya. However, they are some of the most lowly paid employees inspite of the great risks they take. You may argue that they are not very highly educated, but in the end, their contribution to our lives cannot be taken for granted and I believe they deserve better.
It is pretentious for the government to claim that private security guards should be paid above the minimum wage when in actual sense, when you get a tender with them to supply this service, their rate is way below the amount that would get a guard to even collect the minimum wage. Look at any government office and evaluate for yourself, they would rather go for the cheapest provider but with the poorest services.
The Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU), with all its shortcomings, I must say, has been very strong on the ground to fight for the rights of its members. On the other hand, I still believe that providing private security guards in Kenya with fire arms as proposed is a wrong move. Having first hand experience with our security guards, I believe that there needs to be a lot of ground work done before this can be implemented. A firearm is not a toy or a button that one plays around with.
So even as we wait for the new Wages Order to be announced, we also urge the government to provide the employers with competative payment for services provided, irrespective of the industry.
Happy Labour Day to all Workers!!!