Cotu lauds outgoing head of international labour organisation

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli during a meeting on migrant workers rights. [Esther Jeruto, standard]

The Central Organsiation of Trade Unions Kenya (Cotu-Ke) Secretary general Francis Atwoli has described outgoing Director General (DG) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guy Ryder as a polished and tactful organiser.

Atwoli said this following a meeting with Ryder in Geneva, Switzerland after the DG met workers attending this year’s 110th session of the ILO

Ryder thanked workers’ representatives for their support. ‘‘Ryder is a polished and tactful diplomatic organiser who employed his experience in trade union work to transform the ILO to unprecedented heights,’’ said Atwoli in a statement.

Mr Atwoli singled out the outgoing DG for his trade union unification efforts that saw the two global workers’ organisations - the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) merge to form the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Prior to his election as the DG of the ILO, Ryder worked at the ICFTU, where Atwoli served as the vice-chairman. Guy Ryder will be succeeded by Gilbert Houngbo, who was elected on March 25, 2022.

‘‘The election of Houngbo was a great milestone not only for Africans for having its first ILO DG since the formation of ILO in 1919 but also for workers globally, considering Houngbo was a workers’ candidate,’’ said Atwoli.

Among key discussions that will take place during the forum will be the possible amendment of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, 1998, to include safe and healthy working conditions.

Referring to millions of lives lost each year because of work-related accidents and diseases, Ryder stressed the ‘stark’ responsibility of the ILO to protect workers against sickness, disease and injury arising from employment.

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