President Uhuru Kenyatta with COTU secretary General Francis Atwoli (left), during the 2015 Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park.
NAIROBI, KENYA: Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli has warned that corruption in Kenya is now a threat to the country’s national security and demanded more firm action by the Government.
Addressing the 13th ILO African regional meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday, in the Ethiopian capital, Atwoli said that while Cotu welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, the Head of State took too long to crack the whip on corruption in government despite warnings as far back as 2013.
“Cotu believes that with these new appointments, the officers tasked with industrial relations in the country will take time to comprehend and understand its dynamics while respecting the relevant ILO pillars duly embedded on tripartism,” said Atwoli.
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He hailed a new report by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) as a pointer for African governments on how to increase and sustain employment in environmentally friendly sectors.
Atwoli said that with increasing global concern over environment, African governments should promote investment in the so-called “Green Jobs”,
But he said such investments should be guided by policies that ensure workers in this sector are treated with dignity and are properly remunerated.
Atwoli said Kenya and other African governments have a chance to tackle the high level of unemployment among the youth through promotion of ‘green industries’.
He said the African ILO contingent must “remain the main drivers of the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
But the Cotu boss regretted that President Kenyatta’s government, despite being a signatory to various ILO instruments, has regularly shunned the annual convention spelling doom for its commitment to workers’ rights.
Atwoli urged African governments to embrace local solutions to unemployment to stem the tide of youths seeking greener pastures in Europe as economic migrants, leaving them to the mercy of illegal smugglers and dangerous seas.
“Our young boys and girls are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea allegedly in search of greener pasture when this continent is so endowed that it has every resources one could imagine to end poverty,” said Atwoli.
He also urged African governments to partner with trade unions by funding them as is the case in Europe in order to promote improves conditions in workplaces.
The report by the ILO Director General says African countries can reap the benefits of new technology to create jobs for their youths in industries that do not pollute the environment.
It says that because African countries weathered the global economic crisis better than most Asian and European giants, they are in a good position to deepen regional economic integration for more positive outcomes.
The report points out that more focus should be directed by African governments at promoting investment and jobs in rural economies to reduce the migration of youths to big urban areas.
It says that the emergence of an African “urban, educated and dynamic middle class” will open major new opportunities for the economy and society.