Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

It is true some employers are taking advantage of their employees more so the local one by paying them less and in local currency while the foreign employees under the same roof go home with hard currency. Yes it is important to value the local currency to meet the market demand, but what these people do is to pay locals un-equivalent rate of the country’s currency against that of the foreign currency, mostly USD. One just needs to understand the background of any labour dispute or workers strike to know what l am talking about. Sometimes one is left wondering if the labour laws are applied by all and if there are labour inspectors to check and verify these abnormalities. There should also be those in the law enforcement who should be of great assistance to workers and employers, particularly, private one alike to cushion and strengthen the laws in the employment sector. What are the employees’ union doing to this end? Public education within the employment sector should be given a chance because in most cases, they are lacking. For the sake of economic growth, more so at this time when it is dwindling due to a number of factors, the few operating private companies should be encouraged by promoting their businesses but not at the expense of exploiting workers. It is known that some firms are keeping two payrolls if not more. One for government return which normally gives less figures for purposes of taxation and the real one which reflects their earning and pay-out kept in the lockers for the exploitation purposes. I am arguing from the layman’s point of view, but trust me you. There are glaring cases of this nature with some having been brought to the attention of the responsible authorities but ended being shelved never to be touched again. The law must be followed and the employment sector being key to the development of the country, all must be done to see that it is properly managed and the workforce or man-power given what it takes to move the country ahead. There are few industries if any but these few should be brought up to conform to the country’s laws and make the working environment conducive for all players. Workers union in all sectors should come up under one umbrella body, if there is none, to be able to collectively articulate and address workers issues without resorting to strike or disorder. Time to build such a formidable foundation that would address issues in the labour industry is now for brighter future. The game of seek and hide and the use of imagined godfathers should not be given a room. This kind of behavior in the business circles has brought many enterprises to their knees. Matters of national interest should be addressed openly and appropriately with simple aim of resolving any stand-off for continuity and for the well-being of all parties and the country.

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