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Kenya glass workers win after strike for living wages and safety gear

15 September, 2022After a strike for living wages and personal protective equipment, workers at Future East Africa Cooperation (FEAC) negotiated a collective bargaining agreement to improve wages and health and safety at work.

According to the collective agreement the company will pay the minimum wages of 15201 Kenyan Shillings (US$125) as announced by the government and provide work suits and safety boots. In May, the minimum wages were increased by twelve per cent, which the workers say is not enough to cater for living expenses. However, in addition to the twelve per cent, the employer agrees to further increases of five per cent per year in the next two years, and that the workers will receive housing allowances.
KGWU said one of the clauses in the collective agreement stresses that in the case of an injury caused by an accident at work, an employee will be entitled to compensation in accordance with the provisions of the Work Injury and Benefit Act (2007). Further, personal protective equipment that includes uniforms and overalls and safety boots will be provided free of charge to workers. The agreement also includes clauses to protect workers’ rights to maternity and paternity leave as well as retirement.
The agreement also establishes an occupational health and safety committee made up of the employer and union representative as per the labour laws. On HIV and AIDS, workers are protected against discrimination by the employer that is based on their HIV status. Further, awareness campaigns will be carried out on HIV and AIDS.
Maurice Okoth, general secretary of the KGWU says:

“Most of the workers at FEAC are casual workers, and the union is recruiting and organizing them. We are demanding that the casual workers be given permanent jobs so that they can enjoy job security and the other benefits that we negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement.”

“With the rising cost of living in Kenya, wages must also be increased to enable workers to look after their families. We commend KGWU for demanding better wages. Additionally, implementing occupational health and safety at work standards at FEAC is important for accident prevention and a safe working environment,”

says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa.
FEAC is a Nairobi based Chinese owned company that manufactures aluminium and glass products for the construction industry.