History

Background history

With the advent of the end of the so-called Cold War, the unravelling of the Soviet Union and the emergence of more democratic societies in Eastern Europe relations between the western world and much of the rest of the world were drastically altered. Apart from putting pressure on non-western countries to be more observant of human rights and adopt democracy, these countries were also being compelled to adopt neo-liberal economic policies under the name of structural adjustment programs {SAPs}. The general idea was to do away with the “developmental State” or at least trim it to the neo-liberal “night watchman” size in the name of efficiency and cost reduction. One of the key planks in that was the reduction of the size of the public service entailing the retrenchment of its employees among other measures.

Under these auspices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) advised the Kenya government to downsize staff in the public service. The Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK), for example, retrenched its staff by 635 out of a workforce of 752 in the year 2002. The staff was not compensated as required and took their case to Court; a matter not concluded to date 2021. This scenario was more or less the same with other corporations in Kenya. Tens of thousands of others were laid off from other public corporations and government ministries.

The retrenchment was not carried out as properly as had been the case. As a result of the retrenchment of staff without preparing them and their families psychologically, and in other ways, many of them suffer severely and others even lose their lives as a result. Retrenched staff was only paid USD 476, (KSH.40, 000) as a golden hand-shake package. The outdated labour laws in Kenya, especially the employment Act did not give protection to the here marked staff for retrenchment. Among other ills, the retrenched workers are not represented at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) despite their huge investment in it. Such representation requires an amendment to the Labour Act.

It is within this background that the National Network of Retrenches for Social & economic Justice-Kenya (NNR-Kenya) was founded and registered in the year 2003 with the Registrar of Societies, State Law Office as a Civil Society Organization (CSO) with a mission o give hope and promote rights of the retrenched workers, and potential retrenches. The Objectives of the society as set out in its constitution are: to advance and promote Peace, social & economic justice, to engage in income-generating activities to assist each other in case of difficulties, to subscribe to, support, and affiliate with any organization with a similar mind. This is the only such umbrella organization in Kenya.

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