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Atwoli: Workers have less to celebrate

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Atwoli: Workers Have Less To Celebrate
Francis Atwoli after being re-elected as Secretary-General of COTU for a fifth term in Kisumu, April 9, 2021. [Collins Odour, Standard]

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli says the Covid-19 pandemic has left millions of workers jobless.

Speaking during Labor Day Celebrations at Uhuru Park Nairobi on May 1, 2021 in an event attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Atwoli said workers have less to celebrate as the pandemic has impacted millions of jobs and affected livelihoods.

Lauding President’s Uhuru’s economic stimulus measures,  Atwoli said the state’s packages have mitigated the sting of the pandemic and propped workers.

He pledged to work closely with his administration to ease the pain of workers who continue to feel the pinch of the pandemic.

“As COTU, an umbrella body of workers in the country, we will work closely with your government to make sure that we steer our economy to higher heights in order to address the job losses that we have all witnessed as a result of this pandemic. Equally, we would like to thank the ministry of Labor, Health and Interior for providing an enabling environment for our organization to conduct an enabling environment to conduct elections under these abnormal circumstances,” said Atwoli.

“I thank you for having made a budget allocation during this time of covid to the Agricultural sector of the economy by supporting exporters board by supporting tea and agricultural industries by ensuring that there is cargo space for their exports. You made sure, under this trying moment, our exporters can be able to access our ports for international markets,” said Atwoli.

Atwoli said a tripartite agreement signed in 2020 safeguarded against erosions induced on the economy amid social disruptions by the Covid-19

“We call upon your government to continue supporting the social tripartite partners; namely the Federation of Kenyan Employers, COTU and the government through the ministry of Labour. When we realized that Covid was a big problem these organizations developed and signed a tripartite agreement which provided for job security and assured worried workers and those employed during the covid period will not lose their employment when the situation returns to normal. This is a very big milestone.

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Explaining how labour movements influenced today’s worker rights, relations and wage advancement, Atwoli said the Kenyan workers appreciate efforts by leaders who read the times and fight for change under difficult conditions.

“After having this day and several trade unions, we still have a duty to make sure that workers are protected. We have employers who are still hell-bent on maximizing profits without due regard to what workers do at their various places of work.

Atwoli warned that corruption has become a threat to national development and service delivery.

“It is through this vice that we have lost our forest cover hence attracting massive deforestation, which has largely interfered with our environment. It is though corruption that we cannot obtain strategic medicine and quality medical cover in our public hospitals. It is through it that those tasked with the responsibility of restructuring g our cities cannot achieve their desired development, changes and keep out the menaces that negate the International city standards,” said Atwoli.

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