Decent work is employment that respects the fundamental rights of the human person as well as the rights of workers in terms of conditions of work, safety and remuneration.
Given safety equipment
Provided with Insurance Cover
Average Leave days
Martin posted a thread on Twitter, in which he detailed how he got a job through an agency to be a Machine Operator in a company that produces bottle caps for a beverage company. In the tweet thread, he highlighted the plight of factory workers through his first-hand experience
Date: 1st Sept 2020
We got fascinated by this account and we wondered how prevalent this situation is. We had a conversation with Wairegi and together, we agreed to start a “side nyake”, a short term ‘side project’ in which we work with Wairegi and 20 other volunteers, to interview as many workers as we could find in industrial area
Date: 4th Sept 2020
Key focus areas:
Date: 7th Sept 2020
Majority of the workers we spoke to were employed as casuals in factories in industrial area and most are paid between KES. 500-600. We found that their pay computes to considerably less than the minimum wage prescribed by the government of KES. 13, 572.00 (USD 130) per month. What was worse is that we found that there are many cases of people working in the same company as casual employees for years in contravention of the Kenya Employment Act (CAP 226). Based on the fact that they are casuals, they have no protections and are at risk of being fired on a whim.
Most of the workers that we spoke to worked for 8-9 hours with two 10-15 minute breaks. Given that these jobs are heavily manual and that they involve standing, this create undue pressure on the workers.
A big driver of the fear that people have is that there is no job security in their workplaces - even among the contracted staff who told our team that they have seen others being fired on a whim. “What can you do, if you are fired? You can’t fight these companies.” The power dynamics between the employees and the companies they work for were fraught with stories of general disdain for their rights.
|Above miminum pay||Below miminum pay|
We learnt that most of the workers are not provided adequate protective gear. Where it is provided most of them said that they were made to pay for it, in which case some chose to work without the gear.
All of the workers are aware of the Central Organisation for Trade Unions (COTU) but they had no idea what it does for them - even though some of them claimed that a deduction made on their pay goes to the Union.
Women are largely excluded from opportunities in the factory floors in many companies. They told our teams about sexism, sexual harassment and the heavily manual nature of work that makes it difficult for them to work in the sector.