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Energy CS Keter to broker Kenya Power, workers talks

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Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter (right) and Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu) Secretary-General Ernest Nadome at Ministry of Energy's offices in Nairobi on September 21, 2021. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

The Energy Ministry has offered to arbitrate talks between Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC and the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu) to avert a strike planned for next month.

Energy Secretary Charles Keter said he held talks with the management and union officials at his office. He said he would later invite the company’s board of directors to try to resolve the impasse.

Union officials said on Tuesday they had suspended the strike notice planned for October for month-long talks to find solutions.

The ministry’s intervention brings a new twist in Kenya Power boardroom wrangles that have also roped in the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Parliament.

“We called the union and management over the notice to strike over some issues. We have agreed to give dialogue a chance and have set ourselves a timeline of 30 days to deal with each issue one by one,” CS Keter said.

The workers’ union last week threatened to down their tools in the push for the resignation of four directors they accuse of micromanaging the management team.

They are board chairman Vivienne Yeda and directors--Elizabeth Rogo, Caroline Kittony and Sachen Gudka, who are accused of interfering with procurement processes.

The staff workers have also linked the departure of former managing director Bernard Ngugi to the procurement and management wars at the utility firm. They claim Mr Ngugi declined to approve a smart meter project backed by the board.

Ketawu secretary-general Ernest Nadome said the deal would have favoured Safaricom #ticker:SCOM at Kenya Power’s expense.

Mr Nadome said on Tuesday the talks with Mr Keter had not addressed specifics but that the issues would be part of the dialogue.