Cotu and rival headed for a fight over key parastatal positions

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Mr Simon Sang the vice chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Kenya.

By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

The Trade Union Congress of Kenya is going to demand representation in key parastatals with workers interests, its vice chairman Simon Sang has said.

Mr Sang said among the organizations they are going to demand representation in include the National Hospital and Insurance Fund (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and National Bank of Kenya (NBK).

“We want equal representation of workers interests in these strategic institutions and we will be initiating the process soon,” Mr Sang said.

Currently only Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) represent workers rights in these bodies. The move is expected to spark differences between the two trade union umbrella bodies.

The unions in TUCK include the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), Union of Kenya Civil Servants, Kenya Universities Staff Union, University Academic Staff Union, the Dock Workers Union (DWU and Kenya Union of Employees of Polytechnic Colleges.

Mr Sang said TUC was also going to push for major reforms in the labour sector that would include the establishment of new national body to fight for workers rights.

“Currently we have the National Board that is spearheading the issue of workers rights but we feel it is disjointed and we want a new tripartite body established,” he said.

Mr Sang who is also the Secretary General of the Dock Workers Union said they had proposed the new body to be called the Forum for Labour Rights in Kenya and consultations were ongoing with different stakeholders over the same.

He said the new body would have representation from trade unions, employers and the government.

“We want this body to professionalise discussions on determining whether it is right to control the cost of doing business on reduced wages at the expense of workers rights,” he added.

He said negotiations had been initiated with different government bodies to come up with a new legislation on the same.

“We are pushing this matter through Parliament and MP Johnstone Sakaja and Senator Mike Sonko are supporting us in this initiative,” he said.

Mr Sang said employers and investors had taken advantage of lack of an effective workers platform to come up with rules and regulations on issues affecting workers to exploit them.

“As things stand now, investors and employers are using the cost of labour to undermine workers rights,” he added.

Mr Sang said in Europe investors are not concerned about the cost of doing business but they leave it to be determined by economic factors which has saved workers there from being exploited.

“In Asia and Africa some countries are coming up with rules and regulations aimed at regulating the cost of doing business but in effect end up exploiting workers,” he noted.

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