COTU, PUSETU lock horns over venue to host Labour Day celebrations

By Ngari Gichuki

NAIROBI, KENYA: The stage is set for what can only be billed as the ultimate supremacy showdown between the Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) and the Public Service Trade Union (PUSETU) as they both plan to hold Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park.

Speaking to the press, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli said that the Union had received the nod from the County Government to go on with preparations to host their Labor Day Celebrations at the Park as early as February this year adding that all the plans were in place ready for the celebrations.

He however leveled a stern warning to anyone planning to disrupt the day as the union was ready to go to extreme lengths to protect and preserve the importance of Labor Day.

"I am prepared to give my life for the working men and women of this country, we are aware of plans to disrupt the celebrations and we are telling those behind the plans to just try. Our security details together with the police will be on the ground to deal with them accordingly," said Atwoli.

The COTU secretary general added that his union will be in full control of the fete with the backing of the Labor Cabinet secretary Kambi Kazungu and refuted claims of a joint hosting with PUSETU.

In response, PUSETU Chairman Tom Odege accused COTU of trying to play petty politics at the expense of Workers rights. He added that that the Union was in no competition with COTU as its main agenda was to represent all the workers in the country.

Speaking via Phone, Odege said that in the best interest of all workers he would seek to hold a combined ceremony with COTU, he added that the move would be the most reasonable and called for sobriety on the matter from COTU.

"We are not planning any violence or disruptions during the celebrations. Since we will both be celebrating Labor Day at the same venue, it’s only logical that we hold a combined ceremony for the benefit of our members," said Odege.

He also added that in the event that COTU doesn’t agree to co-host the fete, PUSETU will carry on without them and promised enough security presence to ensure no Violence erupts.

Odege refuted claims that Kazungu had backed COTU to single handedly host the ceremony since his position dictates that he acknowledges all trade Unions equally with no special exceptions.

"We are looking forward to a peaceful Labor Day celebration led by sobriety and calmness, we ask COTU to accept to co-host the ceremony for the best interest of our members and Kenya at large. We also have confidence in our Cabinet Secretary and his impartiality to any Union as claimed by COTU," said Odege.