By Grace Maina/Statement
Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Labor ministry have clashed over decision to withdraw ongoing court cases with state being accused of planning to use NSSF money to funds its 2017 campaigns.
COTU acting secretary general Benson Okwaro said the state is trying to arm-twist them to withdraw the case, give way to implementation of new rates which will result to amassing of more funds to state’s campaign pool.
NSSF revised its rates in 2013 to have members contribute more, with both workers and their employers contributing six percent of employees’ gross salaries to the pension fund.
But this was contested by COTU and Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and successfully put on hold by court and workers are currently paying Sh200 to NSSF.
Okwaro said the tactics the state is employing was borrowed from former regimes and will not work now.
He said cartels are waiting for case to be withdrawn to start controlling the funds.
NSSF chairman board of trustees Gideon Ndambuki while speaking in Mombasa on Monday, pleaded with COTU to withdraw the case and unlock the stalemate.
Ndambuki said the courts move to suspend some section of the NSSF Act hampered their operation.
Section 18 on pension scheme, 19 on registration of employer and employee, 20 on collection of new contribution rates and section 71 on regulation of funds were suspended.
‘The suspension of these sections has also affected fund course structure and management and it is now evidence that the two per cent capping of administrative course to the fund value may not be achieved’ he said.
He said facts on the matter will be presented and pleaded with COTU to unlock the court case stalemate and allow funds to move to the next level.
But Okwaro listed raft of demands before withdrawing the case and demanded representation to the NSSF Board.
Though COTU has two representatives, Okwaro called for a must inclusion of one of its members and that of FKE.
As it stands, two-thirds of board membership, in exclusion of the two representatives from trade unions, constitutes a quorum.
Okwaro said there have been meetings and COTUs two representatives have on numerous occasions stormed out and key decision were made without their inclusion.
Other demands were managing trustees in acting position be confirmed or other appointed on permanent basis.
‘We cannot sign an agreement with someone who acting capacity. What if they get fired’ he posed.
Okwaro called for adequate consultation as part of raft demands before the cases are withdrawn
Labor PS Khadijah Kassanchoon said by tomorrow the stalemate will have been unlocked judging by the body language of the two institutions.
‘So far some of the things have been agreed to’ she said at Whitessands hotel Mombasa.