NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – The government has warned the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) to stop meddling with affairs of the newly launched Federation of Public Servants Trade Unions of Kenya (PUSETU-K) which was unveiled on Tuesday.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi said that PUSETU has not been created to overshadow the Francis Atwoli-led COTU but is instead out to complement its operations.
“There is no war at all; the only worry is that now PUSETU is doing what COTU has been doing all along; the only difference is that I can see improvement particularly when it comes to dealing with the government,” said the Labour Secretary.
“This country belongs to all of us, let us stop this chest thumping and being egocentric. The resources we have as a country are enough for all of us, the problem is that some of us are greedy because they believe in ‘I, myself and me’,” he added.
Kambi who spoke at the launch of the new organisation said the days when COTU was left to monopolise the labour movement are long gone, and urged Atwoli to stop panicking.
“We are here to launch a second umbrella labour movement. For the first time we are today witnessing the formal recognition of a second giant union. It is undisputed that for too long, COTU has enjoyed the privileged monopoly and comfort of representing,” he enthused.
“The ministry will continue to encourage this competition and effective representation of workers’ interests,” Kambi argued.
The Labour CS further warned Atwoli to desist from insulting him warning that he would take legal action if he failed to heed the warning.
“I will no longer take Atwoli’s insults and if he continues, I will take him to court.”
“I am the labour Cabinet Secretary and I am in charge, you have to abide by the law… take it or leave it!” he warned.
PUSETU Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya also urged the government to allow them organise the Labour Day celebrations, saying COTU largely represents private sector workers.
“COTU represents largely the private sector employees while we represent the public servants who are hired by the government who at the end of the day is the biggest employer. We have the majority of workers that we represent and therefore we must be given our slot we must be given out position to oversee the Labour Day celebrations.”
“This is not to say that we are chasing anybody out of town; No!” Mukhwaya explained.
Atwoli on Monday accused the government of plotting to undermine him by supporting the new organisation.