TRADE UNIONS INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS
The Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU (K) has read with consternation reports appearing in a section of the media (including The Star, Wednesday, November 30, 2016 page 30) in which one of our Affiliate Trade Union, the Dock Workers Union has declared its backing for Jubilee Party and vowed to convince COTU (K) to equally proceed and campaign for Jubilee.
Foremost, it must be understood that COTU (K) is a free and independent Trade Union organization that respects and cherishes a diverse membership in terms of political ideologies and it would be unfortunate for anyone to try and dictate to this membership which political party to support come the next General Elections.
Secondly, COTU (K) as the single most representative workers’ umbrella body in the country works with the government of the day without commitment.
Third, in the year 2001, COTU (K) amended its Constitution to delink the organization from its previous associations with KANU and by so doing delink COTU (K) from any political party associations and this decision by the then Governing Council still stands because our members belong and subscribe to different political parties and it will be dictatorial for me as the Secretary General of COTU (K) to wake up one morning without the mandate of members and declare COTU (K) will support this party come next year General Elections.
Consequently, the statement by the Dock Workers Union General Secretary Bro. Simon Sang is personal and at no time should it be construed to mean the direction COTU (K() will be taking politically since equally he has no mandate whatsoever to speak on behalf of COTU (K) and the Kenyan Workers as a whole.
At the same time, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) workers under his Union are yet to hold any conference to take such a decision as required by the Union Constitution and as such, we consider Sang’s views to be personal and cannot push such members into taking a certain political decision without going through the pre-requisite provisions of the Unions Constitution.
As a free and Independent Trade Union organization, COTU (K) will continue to work with the government of the day and not involve self into unending political squabbles and parties likely to divide our members.
Francis Atwoli, NOM (DZA), EBS, MBS