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Rival unions battle for rent collection

A rent collection dispute between two Rift Valley Railways workers unions has found its way in the court.

The Rift Valley Railway Workers Union (RRWU) wants the responsibility taken away from the Railways and Allied Workers Union (RAWU).

It is asking the Industrial Court to declare it the rightful rent collectors on Rahu House located on Mfangano Street.

Mr Munayi Isaac Opondo, RRWU Secretary General told the court that it was only right that they had managed to recruit a majority of members from their rival.

Therefore, he said, by rule of number they were the right representatives of workers’ interests.

“RAWU has failed in its core mandate to represent the workers and it should therefore stop collecting the rent which is workers money,” he said.

He wants the court to issue an order directing tenants to deposit their rent to the court until the matter is determined.

“The officials of RAWU continue to misuse the workers asset, applying the funds on personal benefit” claimed Mr Munayi.

However, Mr John Chumo, Munayi’s counterpart at RAWU argued that a union cannot police its rivals.

“It is only the workers, the union members who can complain of the issues being raised. In any event, even the registration of RRWU is an issue we have contested and which is still pending before court,” Mr Chumo said.

He said that his union his union existed long before the rival union and; “we were taking care of our union members. We continue to do so today.”

He added that the fact that some members had decamped to the new union, did not mean that it had collapsed, lost legitimacy or ceased to conduct its operations.