Senator tables query on Cotu Coronavirus expenditure
For the first time in Kenya’s history, the financial management of the umbrella Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) will be a subject of deliberation in the august House.
The development follows the filing of a question in the Senate by nominated lawmaker Petronila Were who seeks to know how the trade union is supporting unionisable employees adversely affected by the coronavirus disease.
Says Were in her petition: “Pursuant to Standing Order 48 (1), I seek a Statement from the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare regarding support for unionisable employees adversely impacted by Covid-19, from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) emergency fund as well as similar funds of the about 41 Cotu affiliate labour unions.”
The Nominated Senator wants to know how much each of the about 41 Cotu affiliate unions contribute towards the Cotu Emergency Fund and how much has been collected by Cotu from affiliate labour unions so far towards the fund of the umbrella labour union.
She also seeks information regarding the amount of money that has been collected by Cotu affiliate unions from their members towards emergency funds of their respective labour unions and the nature of emergencies for which the emergency funds administered by Cotu and its affiliate labour unions cover.
In its response, Were wants the Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare to “State the criteria for qualification of members to benefit from the emergency funds under Cotu and its affiliate labour unions; provide information on the number of unionisable employees who have lost their jobs per sector since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country.”
She further wants information regarding how many of the unionisable employees who have fallen out of employment or faced difficulties as a result of Covid-19 pandemic such as those under the Kenya Hotels and Allied Workers Union, Kenya Aviation and Allied Workers Union, Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union, Kenya Union of Entertainment and Music Industry Employees, Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union, Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Saloon Workers (KUHABWO), among others, have benefited from emergency funds under Cotu and its affiliate labour unions and how much has been remitted to the affected union members.
The Nominated Senator’s question comes at a time when a hue and cry is rising regarding high-level political meetings hosted by Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli at his home in Isinya, Kajiado County as well as his prominent role in organising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) political meetings aimed at whipping the populace into supporting a proposed referendum bill that would usher in a parliamentary political system.