The Star (Nairobi)

11 April 2014

Kenya: Unionist Accuses PUSETU

Photo: Capital FM
COTU Secretary General, Francis Atwoli.

THE Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union yesterday criticised the formation of the Public Service Trade Union. The KPAWU Rift valley, Nyanza and Western regional secretary Joshua Oyuga, organising secretary Henry Omasire and Nandi branch secretary Eliakim Ochieng were speaking during a meeting at Nandi-Hills regional offices.

Oyuga said Pusetu is being used to clip Central Organisation of Trade Union secretary general Francis Atwoli over his stand on NSSF. Oyuga said the fanfare that accompanied Pusetu launch is an indication of the state's interference with Cotu. He said Cotu affiliate unions will snub this year's Labour Day celebrations if it (Cotu) is blocked from hosting the event.

"We know why the government has sponsored a splinter union is aimed at ensuring that COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli was kicked out of NSSF because he had become a stumbling block to those who want to access workers pension money and we will not accept," Oyuga said.

They said labour day was inseparable with COTU warning that any attempt to stop them from organizing could result into disruption of all celebrations across the country during May 1st labour day.

The COTU affliate union wondered why PUSETU who are not contributors to the National Social Security Fund could suddenly develop interest to have their nominees appointed into the management board yet they have different pension schemes.

"They are permanent and pensionable and do not contribute to the NSSF and they have suddently developed alot of interests in it....one reason is clear they want plunder the funds," Omasire added.

KPAWU, which has about 400,000 members,said they fully support COTU under the leadership of Atwoli and threatened to mobilize its members for a countrywide demonstration against any attempt to clip COTU.

Oyuga said COTU had global recognition with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) where Atwoli was serving as its vice president representing Africa.

"We cannot support the weakening of an organization that is recognized worldwide, the presence of key cabinet secretaries in the launch was a clear demonstration of state interference of the labour movement in the country," Oyuga noted.

Just like KUPPET which was split from KNUT, Wilson Sosion the teachers Union secretary general should have been in a better position to realize the importance of being united instead of endorsing a movement that could be used to weaken workers bargain," Omasire added.

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