Strikes: Is Kenya Ready to be a Middle Income Country?

Published on 18th September 2012

The Government of Kenya must cease Ping-Pong games as the country bears the brunt of the industrial action by teachers, university lecturers and health workers that has literally paralyzed the education and health provision sectors.While it is true that that unionization sometimes produces higher wages at the expense of output, jobs and benefits insider workers at the cost of outsider workers, the Kenya government cannot hide in inaction. 

A whole generation's learning hours are lost daily as the government that put pen on paper way back in 1997 to hike teachers' pay dithers. The situation is even worse in the medical arena where lives lost during the doctors’ strike cannot be retrieved. The grounds on which the educationists and health workers demand pay increase can neither be wished away nor postponed. It calls for a sober government to offer leadership in ideas and deeds. 

The surge in industrial strikes as witnessed in Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa is a pointer to the fact that the economic infrastructure on the continent's ability to return adequate value to the worker population is clogged up. Governments, industries and workers need to jointly come up with a way to realistically balance their expectations and unclog the economic system. The Kenya government must go an extra mile to address workers' unrest if it has to be a middle income country by 2030.

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