Unions take fight for State slots to court

Two unions are headed for a court battle in a scramble for slots in key State organs such as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The newly-formed Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya (Pusetu) has said that the Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) does not represent trade unions of public workers in the State institutions.

“The idea to form a new labour centre was mooted from a realisation that majority of trade unions within the public sector were either by design or default not Cotu affiliates,” said Pusetu acting secretary-general Charles Mukhwaya.

So far, the federation has enlisted the Union of Kenya Civil Servants, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, University Academic Staff Union and Kenya National Union of Teachers.

Cotu has one position in the board of  Salaries and Remuneration Commission, three slots at the National Labour Board, two in the National Social Security Fund board and one in the National Health Insurance Fund board, which Mr Mukhwaya said belong to the new union.

He said they would move to court to claim all the seats held by Cotu in the State organs. But Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli said in a separate press briefing that the federation’s intention was to interfere with Cotu’s mandate in representing workers.

“Cotu is empowered to handle issues that Pusetu is seeking to solve,” said Atwoli.

The organisation, which was registered by the Registrar of Trade Unions in July said it plans to secure representation in all national and international labour organisations, a move that would pit it against Cotu.