COTU (K) always works with the government of the day
The Central Organization of Trade Unions (Kenya), COTU (K) would like to clarify on a statement attributed to the General Secretary of the Dock Workers Union, Simon Sang, who claimed that in the past there has been an adversarial relationship between COTU (K) and the government of Kenya.
COTU (K) has always worked with the government of the day whereby the previous governments have supported COTU (K) in advancing workers’ rights and welfare. The relationship between the government and trade unions is not only clearly explained within the Kenyan laws as in Article (41) of the Kenyan
constitution and the five sets of labour laws, but also firmly anchored within the eight fundamental conventions of the ILO that protect and promote tripartite relations.
Further, the relationship between the COTU (K) and the government has seen all former Kenyan presidents attend the Labour Day Celebrations whereupon they have used the opportunity to not only better their relationship with trade unions but also speak to the plight of Kenyan workers. Much more recently, during this year’s Labour Day celebrations, the outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, after negotiations with the leadership of COTU (K) adjusted the minimum wage by a 12% rise, thanks to the tripartite working relationship between the government, employers, and trade unions. This is a clear indication that trade unions in Kenya have worked closely with the government.
As COTU (K), we have ALWAYS witnessed such statements, including the formation of splinter trade unions, whenever a new government comes into power as witnessed in 2013/2014 when a few trade unions came together to form a rival national center to COTU (K) that was not able to even pick up. However, and considering any incoming president would like to work with a united formation in promoting industrial peace, COTU (K) has always worked with the government towards achieving this. To imply that a section of trade unionists want to meet the president is a myth and an indication of opportunism that cannot work in the Labour Movement which is a solidarity movement.
COTU (K)’s Secretary General has already congratulated the President-Elect on behalf of Kenyan workers and on his own behalf. In his congratulatory message, the Secretary General noted that it was the democratic right of COTU (K) to take the stand it had taken considering the endorsement by the leadership of COTU (K) and the constitutional provisions that protect this right. The Secretary General further expressed COTU (K)’s wish to support the president-elect in delivering on his promises to Kenyan workers and Kenyans, in general.
We appeal to workers to support the government of the day in delivering on their promises.
Bro. Benson Okwaro, MBS
DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL