Atwoli faults handling of the nurses’ strike

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli. FILE

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has faulted the way the ongoing nurse strike has been handled by the government. Speaking in Kisumu, Atwoli noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta has been misinformed by his juniors and shouldn’t have been involved in the nurses strike in the first place. He singled out Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani for criticism pertaining to the strike, which is still on despite President Kenyatta’s directive to bring it to an end by Friday 8:00 am, as nurses defied the order.

He said the Head of State means well for the nation and has lots of other things to deal with, including security issues, and his own legacy. “We expect him to comment on an issue if it’s a nationwide strike either called by the Central Organization of Trade Unions on a certain huge disagreement, other than an affiliate of COTU, a small union like nurses….to prompt the President to make comments shows the immature, ineptness and inability for you to solve such a problem as a Cabinet Secretary,” he said.

The COTU boss said if they had reached out to him he could’ve solved the impasse in a day, and that leaders shouldn’t mislead the President and make him seem like an autocratic leader who doesn’t deal within the set industrial relations mechanisms.

Atwoli indicated that the current situation isn’t as complicated and that if it were up to him as the President, he would’ve sacked Labour CS Ukur Yattani, “What the nurses are waiting for is how they can renegotiate the agreement they have. They have a valid document with them, signed by the Council of Governors at that time which hasn’t been honoured.” He said CS Yattani isn’t competent to stand and give his opinions about Kenya’s labour sector and other related issues if he can’t solve such a small issue.