Cotu faults State for lift­ing work ban in Arab states

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - NATIONAL NEWS - BY OUMA WANZALA

Gov­ern­ment de­fends move

Cen­tral Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Trade Unions yes­ter­day dif­fered with the gov­ern­ment over its planned de­ci­sion to lift the ban on Kenyans trav­el­ling to Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar to work as do­mes­tic work­ers.

Cotu sec­re­tary-gen­eral Fran­cis At­woli said the de­ci­sion was ill-ad­vised, ar­gu­ing that Kenyans would again be sub­jected to suf­fer­ing and even death as was the case be­fore the ban was in­tro­duced.

“Cotu was not con­sulted as well as other so­cial part­ners. Labour Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Phylis Kandie should un­der­stand that the ban was put in place af­ter Kenyans suf­fered and many died in the Mid­dle East,” Mr At­woli said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

The ban was im­posed in 2014 with a to­tal of 930 re­cruit­ing agen­cies stopped from op­er­at­ing af­ter re­ports of abuse.

Mr At­woli said ma­jor­ity of African coun­tries have banned their cit­i­zens from work­ing in Gulf states and Kenya should fol­low suit. “Fur­ther, the Min­istry of Labour has not pro­vided an im­prove­ment re­port on the terms, con­di­tions and ser­vices of work­ers in Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar,” said At­woli.

How­ever, Ms Kandie de­fended the de­ci­sion, not­ing 29 re­cruit­ing agen­cies that will be in­volved in the ex­er­cise have been vet­ted a fresh.

She added the agen­cies un­der­went fresh reg­is­tra­tion where they paid up to Sh1.5 mil­lion as bond to en­sure work­ers are not mis­treated and the cash can be used to buy them tick­ets back home.

“The min­istry has also signed a bi­lat­eral agree­ment with Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia and posted labour at­taches to those coun­tries in or­der to en­sure that the wel­fare of do­mes­tic work­ers are well taken care of,” said the CS.

She said the gov­ern­ment is us­ing multi-agency ap­proach to curb il­le­gal em­i­gra­tion by en­gag­ing other rel­e­vant agen­cies in deal­ing with mi­gra­tion is­sues, namely, mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials, air­port au­thor­i­ties, po­lice, for­eign af­fairs among oth­ers.

Ms Kandie said a joint com­mit­tee was re­cently in Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia to dis­cuss the finer de­tails of the agree­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion mech­a­nisms.

“The min­istry has de­vel­oped a na­tional labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion sys­tem set to be linked with the labour mar­ket in­for­ma­tion sys­tem for mi­grant work­ers and di­as­pora,” said the CS.

She added that pre-de­par­ture train­ing is presently be­ing un­der­taken by Youth Fund and ef­forts are un­der­way to de­velop a cur­ricu­lum and stream­line the train­ing process.

Mr At­woli com­plained that the in­ter-min­is­te­rial vet­ting com­mit­tee that was put in place for vet­ting has no rep­re­sen­ta­tion by Fed­er­a­tion of Kenya Em­ploy­ers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.