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Atwoli confident of recapturing ILO seat in Geneva.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli is set to defend his seat as the Vice President of the International Labour Organization (ILO) during the fourth coming general assembly in Geneva.

Atwoli said come November 30, he will defend his seat arguing he has gained the trust and confidence of colleagues in the Trade Union movement.

“Having been at the helm of the largest trade union in the country for the last 15 years uninterrupted and having also been elected the president of the movement in Africa, I think I have what it takes to get re-elected for another term, “he said.

Atwoli who was speaking at Ndindiruku village, Mwea Kirinyaga County over the weekend also criticized Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani for allegedly coming up with draconian decrees concerning national strikes.

Yattani had proposed that workers who go on strike for a lengthy period be subjected to legal action arguing their actions impact on the daily lives of Kenyans.

Atwoli reminded the CS that strikes are protected by law  and no one can institute legal proceedings against the concerned workers.

Yattani had further proposed that the NHIF and the NSSF Board members be appointees of the minister leaving out the trade unions whose members are the ones who remit the monetary contributions.

Atwoli however said the moves were thwarted on Thursday after 50 members of Parliament burnt the mid night oil and threw out Yattani’s proposals which if passed would have sparked off labour unrest.

The fiery trade unionist was speaking during the burial ceremony of Edward Muturi who was the brother to the Chairman of the Kenya Plantation Workers Union Margaret Wangui.

He also told the mourners some politicians who have embarked on 2022 presidential campaigns should be ignored since it was only a year after the general elections.

“These leaders who have proclaimed themselves the 2022 presidential contenders should realize power stems from God through His people called the electorate, and as such they must seek for blessings when that time comes, “he cautioned.

Atwoli who was accompanied by Cotu top brass told the mourners he will become a catechist for the Catholic Church once he retires from the trade union  movement whose faith he professes adding he has no political ambitions.

The Cotu boss is known for his no nonsense stand when it comes to issues he perceives as oppressive  to workers.

Early in 2014, he  locked horns with the then Labour Minister Kazungu Kambi over NSSF Board.

He at one time mobilized tea plantation workers in Kericho to down tools after multinationals introduced machines to pick tea.

By Irungu Mwangi

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