Nairobi — Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, has urged the government to expand the scope of bilateral labor migration agreements to encompass all types of employment in order to combat “modern-day slavery.”
While highlighting the recent agreement between the government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding work opportunities for nurses and midwives, Atwoli emphasized the need for the government to regulate private employment agencies that he alleged engage in “unethical practices” and oversee the “mistreatment of Kenyan workers.”
“The Ministry of Labour should take full charge of Labour Migration and forthwith stop the operations of private employment agencies which have been promoting modern-day slavery,” Atwoli said.
The Labor Ministry, represented by Principal Secretary Geoffrey Kaituko, had announced that qualified nurses and midwives could apply for opportunities in the Saudi Kingdom, where they would receive a minimum salary of Sh177,000.
The areas of interest included nursing, medical, surgical, adult intensive care unit (ICU), pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and midwifery.
Francia Atwoli, who commended the initiative, urged the government to extend its considerations beyond specialized workers and also include domestic workers.
“The decision to engage directly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signifies the government’s dedication to ensuring the well-being of its citizens who seek employment opportunities abroad,” he said.