Nairobi, Kenya, May 2 (Reuters) – President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional amendment bill had solved the problem of the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) exceeding its mandate in relation to workers’ grievances when it would be accepted.
President Kenyatta was responding to a request from Central Organization Trade Union (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, who had urged the government to reconsider the SRC issue and accused it of curtailing efforts to review workers’ minimum wages.
“My brother Raila and I did our best, we crossed this country and drummed support for changing some sections of the constitution that we thought would pose a problem for Kenyans, but other people were against it,” he said , “Let it be solved at the election.”
President Kenyatta’s comments come exactly two months after the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals’ decision on the constitutional amendment process, after ruling that it was unconstitutional.
A majority decision by a seven-member panel of judges found that President Kenyatta’s involvement in the trial was unlawful.
President Kenyatta stated that the decision to change or not to change the constitution rests with the Kenyans and the next government.
The head of state said Sunday the country has the best constitution “but there are some sections that need to be changed” to address the challenges affecting Kenyans, including workers.
Atwoli, speaking during the Labor Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium, said SRC had frustrated officials and public sector unions.
The COTU chief said the SRC’s initial role was an advisory role, but has since transcended its role by interfering with the collective agreement between workers and their employers.
He appealed to members of the National Assembly to revisit the issue of the SRC’s usurping the powers of other organizations.
“The SRC was only set up to advise not to usurp the social partners’ responsibility for free and independent collective bargaining,” he said.
He pointed out that workers around the world and employers should negotiate, noting that “there is nowhere in the world where CBA can last four years when economic performance is dynamic”.