31 July 2014

Kenya: COTU Now Calls Off Strike Set for August 4

Nairobi — The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has now called off the workers' strike called to protest the ouster of its Secretary General Francis Atwoli from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) board.

Atwoli indicated that the strike which was to take place on Monday will not be in good taste since the matter is pending in court.

The case by Atwoli seeking to be reinstated at the NSSF board is pending at the Industrial Court which temporarily suspended a gazette notice by Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi.

Atwoli was retired from the NSSF board alongside Federation of Kenya Employers boss Jacqueline Mugo after serving for 15 and 13 years respectively.

The strike notice was in response to Kambi's decision to retire the two from NSSF's board through a legal notice.

Through a gazette notice, the Labour Secretary invoked powers conferred by section 8 (3) of the National Social Security Fund Act, 2013, to revoke the appointments of Atwoli and Mugo as NSSF trustees effective July 11.

He had asked FKE and COTU to nominate replacements.

The law requires that the two bodies have representation on the NSSF board. The Labour and Finance ministries also have representatives.

Kambi said that the decision to retire the two was based on the new NSSF Act, which requires that trustees only serve a maximum of two terms of three years each.

NSSF has been plagued by controversy in the recent past.

It invited fresh tenders for two controversial real estate projects linked to the sacking of its then managing trustee, Tom Odongo, in 2013.

The projects included the Sh6.7 billion extension of Hazina Towers to 39 floors and the construction of 100 apartments on State House Road, Nairobi.

The High Court had also barred NSSF from charging land owners in Tassia Estate infrastructure fees, pending determination of a case in which they want to stop the levy.

High Court judge Weldon Korir stopped NSSF from collecting the levy until the matter is heard and determined.

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