The public sector trade unions have called on president Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and save the unions from attacks by their respective employers. The unions including Kenya Medical practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) The Kenya Union of Clinical officers (KUCO) and the Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) among others are complaining of what they call “Mutilation” of the unions by state machinery who are using underhand methods to intimidate their members.
The unions, while addressing the media in a joint press statement, cited challenges that KNUT is experiencing courtesy of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) saying the commission has continuously been overlooking teachers who are members of KNUT in promotions, salaries upgraded through illegal and unconstitutional changes.
According to the unions TCS has forced a big number of teachers to withdraw their KNUT membership by intimidation. Knut membership has constantly shrunk from over 240,000 teachers to more or less 13, 000 teachers and there are many more teachers who are still withdrawing from the union. The unions claim that TCS has turned down all calls from the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and nine other teachers’ unions across the world to end the systematic attack on Knut.
“This is an illegality that violates our treasured labour laws, and an attempt to stifle the activities and operations of unions and is meant to kill unions in this country. That we shall not allow and if it continues we shall come together in solidarity and make a proper statement in this country,” said the acting secretary-general of KMPDU Dr Chibanzi Mwachonda who read the statement on behalf of the unions.
The unions have also condemned county governments for firing striking health workers who since November of last year, have downed their tools in protest over poor working environments and exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
“This is now the second month since those industrial strikes were called off, but we still have health workers out of work, thrown out of their homes by county governments simply because you cannot handle a labor dispute in a manner prescribed by law, it is never personal. These are labor disputes and must be handled as such,” Dr. Mwachonda said.
Despite intervention by the public service commission, Kirinyaga county, and Laikipia county are yet to reinstate the workers. Kenya Union of Clinical officers national chairman Peterson Wachira says by violating labour rights, workers’ human rights are under violation.
“Labour rights are human rights, when you violate labour rights you violate human rights,” he said.
The unions have challenged the government to closely work with them to ensure there is maximum productivity of their members.
Siaya Senator James Orengo during the funeral service of the late Mama Hannah Atsianzale Mudavadi, mother to ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi at Mululu, Sabatia in Vihiga county called on the government to protect especially Knut from mutilation by TSC and the same sentiments were echoed by COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli at the launch of the second BBI draft at the BOMAS of Kenya.