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Atwoli and Kazungu clash at global labour conference

By JACOB NG’ETICH | June 8th 2014

Kenya: The war of words between Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi and Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been extended to the ongoing Annual Convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

During  the convention, Kambi dismissed the Cotu boss and accused him of trying to frustrate the labour industry in Kenya and vowed to protect the government’s interest.

Kambi, who pushed for the ratification of the ILO Convention, especially article 87, insisted that the law would allow Kenya to register and operationalise multiple unions.

The CS said he would oversee the full implementation of the article.

In his speech at the global conference a day earlier, Atwoli said Kambi should not be involved in the operationalisation of the new laws in Kenya.

Out of order

Senate Labour Committee member and Nominated Senator Joy Gwendo, who was also attending the convention,  said she found Kambi’s argument that he was protecting the government’s interest completely out of order given that he has a duty to protect the interest of all Kenyans.

“The Cabinet Secretary unfortunately does not seem ready – he was not ready to listen to ideas as he claimed he was experienced in labour laws,” said Ms Gwendo.

The Senator said a Labour Committee meeting chaired by Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo and his deputy Martha Wangari resolved that they would help broker truce between the two leaders.

She said the Senate committee  agreed to have a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary and Cotu officials to help iron out their deep-rooted issues that look more personal than professional.

 “As a committee, we feel there is need for a cease fire as the workers need to be represented and not involved in war of words,” she said. “We also need to encourage social dialogue for the benefit of the workers. The parties should work as a team for the benefit of the workers,” said Ms Gwendo.


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