By Mwakwaya Raymond
The government has assured Kenyans that a strategy to end abuses of Kenyans in the Middle East is at an advanced stage.
Speaking during a conference on Africa regional labour administration center in Mombasa cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui stated that the government is currently engaging individual countries in the Middle East where the majority of Kenyans are working.
He said whereas the incidences are very critical, the government is committed to put in place rational and practical measures to end the incidences.
The umbrella Central Organisation of trade Union COTU boss Francis Atwoli had challenged the Cs to suspend traveling and cancel all licenses of recruiting agencies involved with transportation of Kenyans to the Middle East.
“There are genuine concerns, which we don’t condone. Through talks with the relevant countries we will get a formula to reduce the complaints of exploitation and mistreatment. About bout 3 to 4 percent of Kenyans who are affected,” said Chelugui.
He said there are 104,000 Kenyans working in the Middle East and therefore it will be impossible to suspend or ban migration of Kenyans to the Gulf countries.
“Many of them are doing a good job and they are happy, so we have to deal with those challenges that the few are facing,
Chelugui stated that he will be heading to Saudi to review the labour agreements on domestic workers so as to avert any form of abuse of workers.
He said on Dec 17 he will lead a delegation to Saudi Arabia so as to resolve the migrant workers stalemate.
Atwoli said as it stands, Kenyans are subjected to modern slavery in the Middle East owing to a lot of gaps in the implementation of the labour laws that govern the recruitment agencies.
The agencies have been on the spot for the ills Kenyans undergo upon arriving in the gulf countries, some that are related to human rights violations.
“This is something that we will continue to oppose, even if the government says it has been making money from remittances overseas, all other countries are protecting their citizens and Kenya should do away with these labour agents,”said Atwoli.
He challenged the government to employ more labour officers so as to sufficiently serve all Kenyans in the country and overseas. The labour official cautioned county governments against employing its workers on contracts with insufficient pay.
“County governments should give Kenyans decent jobs with good pay, many towns are dirty because employees are not paid well, therefore we urge the governors to permanently employ their people,”Atwoli added.
Atwoli is banking on labour law in parliament that seeks to ban outsourcing of employment thus denying Kenyans jobs.Atwoli was speaking in Mombasa during the same conference attended by Cs Chelugui.
Atwoli hailed the Kenyan government for standing firm with Kenyan employers during and after Covid-19.He asked the government to continue putting in place strategic measures aimed at reviving the economy that has adversely affected by COVID-19 disease.
Kenya has pushed sh 400 b in the last two years to 110 billion remittances in last year, this however confirms that in Africa there is labour potential, “he added.
The world is moving digital and in Africa there is a scramble for labor, therefore as African countries we need to work on a policy to lead us through,” said Chelugui