, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) insists that a planned nationwide workers strike will go ahead on Monday, with the support of public transport operators.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli said they were dissatisfied with Wednesday’s reduction of fuel prices by an average of Sh5. He insists fuel prices should immediately come down by 30 percent.
Addressing a press conference at the COTU headquarters, Atwoli said the union’s umbrella body had sought dialogue with the government over the matter albeit unsuccessfully.
“We already issued a notice to the Minister for Labour, after having written to the President. So if there is no intervention by Friday, let nobody seek an explanation as to why workers fail to report to work on Monday,” declared Atwoli.
“Even if any worker came out there will be no transport services. Besides, we will have young men to make anybody intending to go to work to retreat,” he threatened.
Atwoli and his deputy George Muchai hit out at the chairman of the Matatu Owners Association Simon Kimutai for distancing himself from the strike. He said the matatu owners association was insensitive to the plight of operators and only mindful of the interests of the investors.
“We are prepared to face him (Kimutai)… let him put his vehicle on the road if he is man enough,” Atwoli warned.
The rival Matatu Welfare Association rubbished Wednesday’s reductions in fuel prices saying that they would not have real effects on the operating costs of matatus.
Chairman Dickson Mbugua said the number of people opting to walk to work had considerably increased and the operators were incurring losses.
“It is a drop in the ocean; I cannot even tabulate what percentage it is. If 30 percent is so much let’s go to the table; we are ready to listen to what they can offer,” stated Mbugua.
Fuel prices went down by at least Sh5 per litre in the latest review by the energy regulator on Wednesday, marking the first time in 12 months that a reduction of such margin has been registered.
According to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), a litre of super petrol in Nairobi will retail at Sh119.06 for the next one month down from the Sh124.13 that it has been selling at from November 15.
“Taking into account the costs of imported products and products refined locally, the overall result is that the maximum allowed price of super petrol in Nairobi decreases by Sh5.07 per litre,” a statement from the ERC read.
The price of diesel has declined by Sh3.33 per litre to Sh110.97 while that of kerosene has gone down by Sh4.13 to Sh90.74.
Motorists in major towns such as Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Eldoret will purchase the commodity (super petrol) at Sh115.79, Sh119.62, Sh120.79 and Sh120.73 respectively.