The Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) is very active in important policy areas. In some cases, there are important breakthroughs, in other areas there are challenges. These are in a nutshell the impressions which are brought back by the DECP country manager, who spend a few days with FKE to discuss the new 2019 workplan for cooperation and support between DECP and FKE.
Successes amongst others in advancing the skills agenda. Last year, and in cooperation with DECP, FKE launched a skill survey, which identified in more detail important gaps and mismatches in skills. The message was taken up by the political authorities and is now being followed up actively by FKE. Being well represented in the relevant skills committee, it now has the opportunity to be a forceful, mandated and well informed voice of business with the world of education. FKE is now intervening in direct dialogue with the Ministry of Education to co-develop a new skills policy, which should make closer links between education and labour market needs. Also the Ministry of Industrialization involved FKE to create better links between academia, industry and authorities.
Successes also in the field of social dialogue, in particular on alternative dispute resolution. FKE developed together with the national trade union a draft agreement for alternative dispute resolution and strives to implement this by concrete law reforms soon, as to alleviate the processes and procedures in labour conflicts.
But also challenges. To boost the housing building output (250.000 housing units needed per year), the government intends to levy a specific employers and workers contribution to finance the housing fund. The central question is of course if it is fair and expedient to make workers and employers pay a special contribution for the housing policy, which will benefit all Kenyans, and which hence logically should be financed from general means. On this issue, FKE went to Court and hopes to modify important elements in the funding policy.
Challenges also as far as the role of social partners in the management of social security is concerned. The government attempted in 2018 to dismiss the social partners from the joint management of social security institutions, whilst such co management worked well and is considered in most countries as a normal role for social partners, which contribute massively to social security. Also this issue is now before the Courts.
The workplan 2019 which has been discussed focusses on further support for FKE activities in the areas of skills, policy development. It also seeks to reinforce the communication capacities and actions of FKE, towards members and society in general, as to increase the visibility and attractiveness of FKE.