In a statement seen by kenyagist.com, Atwoli dismissed a report by the Ministry of Land putting the number of workers covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) at 16,100, arguing that it was politically instigated.
The COTU boss claimed that the findings of the analysis on economic performance presented in the Economic Position Paper to the General Wages Advisory Council (GWAC) and the Agricultural Wages Advisory Council (AWAC) were based on false and doctored data.
“In the said politically motivated analysis, the ministry claimed that the employees covered steadily declined from 367,000 in 2016 to 16,100 in 2020. This is purely 2022 elections’ politics taylor-made to incite our members,” he wrote.
Atwoli revealed that according to the in-house analysis of its members, the number of workers covered under COTU stands at 2.3 million and another 2 million benefits indirectly. He termed the omission of this data as an indictment of Kenyan workers and the Labor Movement.
“There are currently2,356,406 working Kenyans who are covered by CBAs as negotiated by the various unions under the COTU (K) umbrella while more than two million Kenyan workers benefit from the agreements indirectly,” he noted.
While admitting that the union’s membership might have been affected by the pandemic that hit the country in 2020, the numbers have picked up after the government lifted the containment measures.
He claimed mischief in the data stating that it came at a time when the union was going to negotiate for a raise in the minimum pay in line with the Labor Day celebrations on May 1.
“As we prepare to negotiate, COTU (K) would like to allay fears by Kenyan workers that the much-awaited minimum wage will not materialise.
“Guided by research that indicates a rise in economic performance but equally a rise in inflation which has eroded the purchasing power of Kenyan workers, we will ensure that Kenyan workers get what they deserve during the negotiations,” Atwoli declared.
The vocal trade unionist accused the Ministry of Labour of using it as one of the plots to frustrate the undertakings of COTU, not to mention its refusal to gazette the union’s nominee to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Board of Trustees.
He took a swipe at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), claiming that the institution gave wrong representations of the country’s data.
“For instance, the poverty rate was set at 63 per cent by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research Analysis (KIPRA) stands at 53 per cent according to KNBS. The latter argued that Kenya’s population is 47.5 million while the World Bank puts it at 53.7 million,” the statement read in part.