13 November 2018

Kenya: Give Drivers Permanent Jobs, Says Atwoli

The 669 matatu companies and saccos in the country may soon be compelled to formalise the employment of their workers.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli on Monday said drivers and conductors should be employed on permanent and pensionable terms.

Mr Atwoli told the Nation that non-recognition of drivers, conductors and other crew members of Public Service Vehicles as regular employees is a violation of their rights.

DISORDER

"It is a violation of their right to fair labour practices, social security, equal protection and equal benefit of the law," the Cotu boss added.

Mr Atwoli, who supports the enforcement of the "Michuki" traffic rules by the Interior and Transport ministries, blamed the disorder on public transport on non-compliance with the law on employees' rights.

DEDUCTIONS

He said saccos have failed to comply with the 2014 National Transport and Safety Authority (Operation of PSVs) regulations, which gave the responsibility over matatus, buses and other PSVs to the saccos and companies.

According to the law, matatu drivers, conductors and other staff should remit statutory deductions and are entitled to a healthy and safe workplace, work injury benefits, insurance, statutory leave days and written contracts of employment, he said.

DISMISSED

But according to Mr Atwoli, failure to comply with this law has seen matatu owners focus on maximising profits at the expense of their workers.

"We have attempted to make drivers and conductors form or join unions for purpose of checks and balances but vehicle owners have frustrated these efforts," the Cotu chief said.

"Those who have tried to join a union have been summarily dismissed but we will now rein in vehicle owners and saccos to ensure the workers are not exploited."

RECOGNITION

There are more than 200,000 registered PSVs in Kenya, with Nairobi alone having slightly more than 20,000.

They are run by limited companies and savings and credit co-operative societies.

"It is a matter of following the law and matatu owners should not be an exception. Lack of recognition of drivers, conductors and other crew members of PSVs as employees also deprives them of the benefits and protection guaranteed by the law," Mr Atwoli said in Nairobi, adding that sanity must be restored on Kenyan roads.

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