NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – The Industrial Court on Tuesday barred the Federation of Public Service Trade Unions (PUSETU) from interfering with the Labour Day festivities organised by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU).
This was after COTU, through their lawyer Judith Guserwa, moved to court on grounds that PUSETU might resort to violence in order to hijack the event slated for Uhuru Park on May 1.
“The respondent union has threatened to hijack the preparations of the celebrations which if effected will bring the workers day and attendants into embarrassment and make the day lose its glamour,” she told Justice Monica Mbaru.
Mbaru then granted the restraining orders sought by COTU, certified the matter as urgent and directed that the case be heard on May 7.
COTU avers that it spent the better part of a year organising the Labour Day celebrations and spent an estimated Sh15 million of its members’ contributions in that effort.
Meanwhile Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi announced on Tuesday that he will attend the Labour Day festivities at Uhuru Park.
“The usual place… all arrangements are ongoing and it’s going on well so you are most welcome,” he said.
He had earlier said the venue of the official national Labour Day festivities was yet undetermined on account of the wrangles between PUSETU and COTU. READ: Labour Day venue undecided, admits Kambi
He also appeared to distance himself from the fight for control of Labour Day between PUSETU and COTU.
“I’m not ready to answer that. It is a workers day,” he said to a question on who between PUSETU and COTU would be organising the official National Labour Day festivities.
A week ago he had demanded that the two unions work together through a steering committee, to organise the event.
“They have to sit down and come up with a venue which is going to be accepted by all the parties. So it’s not a one man issue. They (COTU and PUSETU) have no choice anyway by the way, they have to work together,” he had insisted.
And despite having appeared to have softened his stance on Tuesday, Kambi was non-committal on whether President Uhuru Kenyatta would attend the Uhuru Park festivities on his return from the 12th Extra-Ordinary East African Community (EAC) Head of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania.
“We are in discussion because I do represent him but I will let you know the soonest,” he said.
But with the Industrial Court barring PUSETU from interfering with COTU’s Labour Day plans and with Kambi confirming that he would be attending them, Tuesday was a good day for COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli.
He even got the backing, in jest, of the Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale.
“From where I sit Atwoli should be in charge of the labour movement,” he said in Parliament.