Women are still poorly represented in the top ranks of labour movements in Kenya, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka told a conference in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Mr Musyoka, head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee in South Sudan, said the trend is worrying so immediate solutions are needed.
“Less than 30 per cent of women occupy the top slots in key unions, including the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the umbrella body of all workers - the Central Organization of Trade Unions, (COTU),” he told the
Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) conference on Wednesday.
Mr Musyoka further urged trade unions to help strike the right balance between workers’ rights and employer rights.
“This goes hand in hand with the need to foster closer and harmonious relationships between trade unions and employers so as to avoid excessive combativeness and/or brinkmanship that may be unfavourable to the wellbeing of the worker as well as the investor,” he said.
He also noted that denial of employee rights by an employer often results in low morale, which leads to low productivity or the lack of it altogether.
“In the extreme end of the pool, excessive demands for awards by workers often end up crippling industries due to astronomical costs,” he said.
Mr Musyoka further noted the need for adherence to court orders by the employer, the employee and their representatives so as to promote industrial harmony.
“I am convinced that the current impasse between the Teachers Service Commission and Knut, which basically revolves around the welfare of teachers, can be amicably resolved through mediation,” he said.
The official also spoke about government interference with trade unions yet they are not a threat.
Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said trade organisations should take responsibility for building a just and equitable future of work.
"Social dialogue can play a key role in ensuring the importance of this contract to managing the changes and all the partners in the world of work should be included and participate fully in the process,” said Mr Atwoli in a statement read by COTU Deputy Secretary General Benson Okwaro.