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Atwoli lauds Ruto’s support for workers at Geneva summit

Francis Atwoli has praised President William Ruto’s commitment to improving the welfare of Kenyan workers.

In his address at a conference on workers welfare in Geneva on June 7, 2023, Atwoli, who doubles up as the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) secretary general further commended the Head of State’s dedication to defending the rights of workers and his efforts to enhance their conditions in the country.

Atwoli specifically highlighted the appointment of new members to the National Labour Board by the current Kenyan administration, stating, “We are encouraged by the recent gazettement of new members on the National Labour Board.”

President Ruto appointed Atwoli, alongside Jacqueline Mugo, Michael Macharia, George Masese, Ernest Nadome, Rose Omamo, Daisy Wanja Njiru, and Areba Omwoyo Samba, to the board on May 5, 2023.

As a member of the National Labour Board, Atwoli will provide advice to the Labour Cabinet Secretary, Florence Bore, on matters concerning employment and labour relations.

The board is also empowered to conduct investigations and research on labour, economic, and social policies.

At the International Labour Conference (ILC), Atwoli raised concerns about the interference of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) processes.

He called upon the SRC to respect the principles of free and independent collective bargaining as outlined in the ILO Convention 98.

Additionally, Atwoli urged employers, especially multinational enterprises operating in key economic sectors with a significant workforce, to invest more in social dialogue.

He emphasised the importance of constructive engagement between employers and workers to achieve fair and equitable working conditions.

Furthermore, Atwoli called upon the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to reconsider its strategies regarding the decent work agenda while prioritizing the realization of a global coalition for social justice.

Atwoli’s praise for President Ruto comes after the duo had to endure a love-hate relationship for the better part of the last five years.

The two fell out on the political front after Atwoli aggressively campaigned for Azimio leader Raila Odinga in the run up to the August 2022 polls.

This necessitated the fallout as Atwoli repeatedly swore in public that Ruto, then serving as the Deputy President, had a zero chance of assuming the presidency.

But then Ruto won the presidency with a slight margin and the fiery trade unionist was among the first people to switch their loyalty.

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