The basic pay for the lowest paid workers in the country was on Tuesday raised by Sh1,021 to Sh8,821 per month.
The announcement for the 13 per cent pay raise was contained in President Kibaki’s speech to workers read by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka during Labour Day celebrations at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park.
It raises the minimum pay from Sh7, 800, a month to Sh8, 821 per month.
“The government will increase the basic pay by 13.1 per cent,” the President told workers of the country.
This, he said, was only a part of a larger plan of the government to make working in the country a comfortable experience for all Kenyans irrespective of the industry where one worked.
But the news of the salary increment was received with mixed reactions from the crowd that had turned up.
“I’m happy with the announcement, but they also need to look at food prices and basic products as well. The Sh5,000 today is so little one cannot sustain themselves,” said Ms Sarah Shabaan, a domestic worker.
“Prices of flour have gone up, yet the income remains the same for some or even lower. We need to see the government ensuring that every Kenyan lives a comfortable life,” said Ms Zainab Nuru.
“Kenyans should be sober enough to elect leaders who are trustworthy, responsible and can relate with the challenges of a common Kenyan,” said Mr Ibrahim Shisia, who works with the Print Point.
He also noted that with the prices going up it becomes difficult for people to develop since all the money is spent on food, rent, clothing and education leaving literary nothing for saving.
“This in return leaves very miserable non-developing Kenyans,” he added.
But Mr Musyoka cautioned workers against dishonest recruitment agencies, especially those with bases in the Middle East that had brought untold suffering to desperate job-seekers.
He urged them to seek information from the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Labour on authenticity of the jobs.