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From temporary to permanent employment: East African workers on solid ground

It all started with OHS, intricate negotiations and campaigns. Now, the conditions for the workers in the informal economy are improved.

In Uganda and Kenya a great deal of workers are employed in the informal economy, in which collective bargaining agreements, social security and pensions are non-existent. Thanks to massive campaigning by the local unions, thousands of casual workers now have steady jobs.

Unsafe working conditions are harmful

From 2015 to 2018, the East African metal workers’ unions affiliated to the global union federation, IndustriALL, have succeeded in securing 5,000 former casual workers steady jobs through lobbying and advocacy.

It all starts with the working environment

The road to securing thousands of casual workers a steady job has been long and with many bends. Often, it has begun at the work places where a decision on improving the working environment has pulled the employers and the workers to the negotiation table. 

18 percent pay hike

At work place level, the local workers’ health and safety representatives have managed to engage in dialogue with the employers. Thus, they have negotiated collective bargaining agreements, permanent contracts, and salary conditions to the benefit of their colleagues. 

It is against this backdrop that the minimum wage in Kenya was raised with 18 percent in 2017.