Monday, June 17, 2024

Digital firms urge Ruto to champion workers’ rights during US visit

Kenyan youth-led digital organisations call on President Ruto to advocate for workers’ rights during US tech company engagements

Kenyan Youth Groups Urge President Ruto to Advocate for Workers’ Rights During Talks with US Tech Companies

A coalition of Kenyan youth-led digital organizations has called on President William Ruto to prioritize workers’ rights during his engagements with U.S tech companies that have partnered with local firms. In an open letter to the President, the youth groups expressed concerns about alleged violations of human and workers’ rights by some U.S-based tech companies and their local partners.

The organizations accused the companies of undermining local Kenyan labor laws, the country’s justice system, and violating international labor standards, including the right to unionize. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that job opportunities are tools of economic freedom and not disempowerment.

The letter was written on behalf of hundreds of digital workers in Kenya, including Data Labellers, Content Moderators, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) workers. The coalition of organizations, including Leaders for Leaders Champion, Siasa Place, Tribeless Youth, and others, highlighted the need for strong mechanisms to prevent union busting by U.S companies in Kenya in any strategic trade and investment partnership agreements between the two countries.

The youth groups called on President Ruto to ensure that any agreements with the U.S explicitly commit to non-discrimination, including in pay across gender, race, and nationality. They stressed the importance of promoting decent, dignifying, and socially just jobs, especially in a country with high levels of educated unemployment.

The organizations expressed their commitment to expanding opportunities for meaningful participation of young people in the civic, social, and economic spheres for the benefit of both the youth and Kenya as a whole. They urged President Ruto to prioritize workers’ rights and ensure that trade partnerships with U.S tech companies promote mutual prosperity and uphold the best principles of the Kenyan constitution.

As President Ruto prepares for discussions with U.S President Biden on trade, investment, and technological innovation, these youth-led organizations are hopeful that their concerns will be taken into account and that steps will be taken to protect workers’ rights in Kenya.

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