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COTU vows to work with govt in fighting graft

12 February 2014, 16:50 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has commented President Uhuru's stern warning to public officers engaging in corruption and assured that the workers' organization will work closely with the head of State in eradicating the vice.

Atwoli noted that his organization has received many names of appointed State officers with corrupt track record and that he will expose them for scrutiny before they could hold public offices.

"Fraud is the biggest form of robbery, only that the participant does it skillfully unlike in normal robbery where on has to use a gun. I would like to thank the President for coming out openly warning public officers against involving themselves in corruption," said Atwoli.

"Since we in COTU are a bit older than the President, we know well where corruption is rooted and we will help him identify culprits in the deals including some cartels in government," he added.

Atwoli challenged the Industrial Court judges appointed during the Kibaki's regime through COTU's efforts to assist in mitigating workers' problems to stop operating on commercial basis which  he said is against the Organization's constitution.

"It is unfortunate that the 15 industrial court judges COTU fought for their recruitment to fight for the workers' challenges have lost focus by operating in a commercial manner and attempting to interpret the Organization's constitution to officials which is far contrary to their mandate," noted Atwoli.

He warned African governments against giving multinational companies tax holidays and exemptions from national labour laws under the pretext of increasing foreign investment noting that this enslaves people through casualized employment.

Atwoli added that governments should not work to weaken strong employers or workers' organizations for selfish corrupt gains but should instead support them to attain industrial peace, decent work and social justice advocated by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

He also urged trade unions to educate workers and especially sensitize them on ranks and file members. He added that the unions should not be divided on ideological or political party basis but instead serve their members effectively to strengthen the organization across the continent.

Atwoli was speaking during the regional trade union conference on global agenda, decent work and social justice dubbed "challenges for African trade union movement" in Nairobi.

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