The Central Organization of Trade Unions in Kenya, COTU (K) condemns the alleged Sacking of Farm Workers. COTU (K) maintains that there Has Been No Meeting Attended by COTU-K in Which the Alleged Sacking of 50,000 Farm Workers as a result of Covid-19 was discussed.COTU (K) is engaged together with 45 affiliates to protect workers in all sectors of our Economy . #ExplainingThisDistress
There Has Been No Meeting Attended by COTU-K in Which The Alleged Sacking Of 50,000 Farm Workers as a result of Covid-19 Was Discussed
The Central Organization of Trade unions, COTU (K) wishes to strongly distance itself from the contents of a story appearing in The Standard of Monday, April 6, 2020 captioned “Cotu okays sacking of 50,000 farm workers”.
For the records, COTU (K)’s affiliate trade union organizing in the Agricultural Sector, The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union, KPAWU under the leadership of its General Secretary Francis Atwoli and who doubles as the COTU (K) Secretary General, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (See Attached) with the Agricultural Employers Association, AEA on how to mitigate the situation amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and agreed on a raft of measures to be taken in order to ensure none of the unionisable employees in the sector who is on permanent terms will be sacked and the MOU was signed by both parties namely the Chairman of AEA Mr. Tom Ochieng together with the AEA Chief Executive Officer Wesley Siele on one hand and the Union’s General Secretary Francis Atwoli together with the Deputy Thomas Kipkemboi.
To this end, any reports to the contrary as reported by Anthony Gitonga of The Standard in our view, are erroneous, misleading and meant to cause friction and tension between our organization and the workers who are equally devastated by the Pandemic just like the rest of Kenyans are and it would be quite unfortunate and misdirected for any employer in the country to victimize any employee as result of the Pandemic, causing further pain and agony to such employees.
As the umbrella workers body in the country, we have held several joint tripartite meeting with the ministry of Labour and Social Protection under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and during these meetings, the parties have floated a number of options and in all these options, the issue of sacking workers has never featured and whereas as an organization we are indeed cognisant of the pain the Pandemic has and continue to cause to our economy and to businesses, we will stand firm to fight off any attempts by any employer to lay off workers, and we are determined to oppose by all means.
Further, it will be the most outrageous move and irresponsible for COTU (K) to be party to such decision despite the situation that the country and the world finds self in. We are a responsible trade union organization that if alive to any emerging situations and will pursue proper channels in mitigating the Pandemic where the issue of sacking workers will not feature because this amounts to inflicting more pain to an already traumatised people who can’t now access their workplaces and are forced to stay indoors against their wish.
COTU (K) wishes to caution any writer and/or Newspapers from spreading such rumours, propaganda and hearsays to a people already overburdened by the current situation and urge employers as well to engage their sectoral unions on how best to address this unprecedented issue now threatening our very survival both as employers and workers. In the meantime, COTU (K) will not relent in embracing social dialogue with its tripartite Social Partners namely the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, MOLSP and the Federation of Kenya Employers, FKE towards protecting all workers and providing support to them in these challenging times globally amid the COVID-19. We continue to call on government to shield workers from the adverse effects of THIS PANDEMIC. We welcome the tax reliefs offered by the government and urges for more in support of workers who are the first in line as far as combating COVID-19 is concern.
Dr. Francis Atwoli, NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS