Atwoli responds to PSRA over order to suspend COTU remittances

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 16:35 | By
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli. PHOTO/Francis Atwoli (@AtwoliDza)/X

The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) has responded to the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) following an order by the latter for private security firms to stop remittances to the former.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli has warned PSRA against interfering with its affairs saying the trade union is free and independent and is neither regulated by PSRA nor any other government agency.

"It must be remembered that COTU (K) is a free and Independent Trade Union that is neither regulated by PSRA nor any other government agency.  As such the demands contained in the letter by PSRA can only be made by the union members and/or the respective union," Atwoli stated.

"Further, the union dues COTU (K) receives from private security workers, through their union’s affiliation to COTU (K), is as a consequence of a gazette notice by the Ministry of Labour, dated 2nd September 2016, considering the labour laws and the requirements of the constitution of COTU (K)."

Atwoli says he has been the leading champion of the rights and welfare of private security workers in Kenya, terming PSRA as the greatest impediment to the enhancement of the rights and welfare of private security guards.

"Indeed, Bro. Isaac GM Andabwa, who is the General Secretary of the KNPSWU (Kenya National Private Security Workers Unio) not only sits in the executive board of COTU (K) but has received a lot of support from the leadership of COTU (K) in organizing workers in that sector," Atwoli added.

"A quick Google search would reveal that over time, the Fazul-led body, PSRA, has been the greatest impediment to the enhancement of the rights and welfare of private security guards as COTU (K) has received numerous complaints on the same through our affiliate union, KNPSWU. PSRA has, for long, stood against the many reforms proposed by COTU (K) towards enhanced welfare of the private security workers."

Atwoli has also called for the resignation of PSRA Director General Fazul Mahamed, whom he claims is engaged in antics since his tenure at the helm is coming to an end.

"However, considering the lack of purpose and direction by Fazul, at the helm of PSRA, it might be prudent for him to resign so that the body finds a competent person who understands the role(s) of a regulator. Finally, in calling for the resignation, arrest and prosecution of Fazul Mahamed, we equally understand that Fazul’s term at the helm of PSRA is coming to an end and thus the increasing appetite for juvenile antics to gain prominence for another appointment," Atwoli added.

PSRA faults COTU

On Monday, April 15, 2024, PSRA directed all private security firms to immediately stop the deductions and remittances of security guards’ monthly trade union fees contributions to the trade union.

Mahamed said that the trade union has not lived up to its mandate to protect its members and has persistently disregarded, declined and neglected to advocate for their rights.

"For years, private security companies have consistently deducted trade union fees from private security guards and subsequently remitted the said contributions to the Central Organization of Trade Unions, COTU - Kenya. As outlined in COTU's constitutive document, part of the organization's core mandate is to represent the voices of workers and actively fight for their social and economic welfare," Mahamed stated.

"Notably, private security officers constitute a large percentage of COTU's membership and despite their low salaries have faithfully contributed trade union fees to COTU for decades. Regrettably, notwithstanding their significant financial contributions, COTU has not lived up to its mandate and has persistently disregarded, declined, and/or neglected to advocate for their rights, advocate for compliance with minimum wage and promote their general welfare."

PSRA Director General Fazul Mahamed
PSRA Director General Fazul Mahamed. PHOTO/@PSRAuthority/X

Mohamed said the action was taken after security guards complained about fund utilisation and their welfare not being addressed by the trade union.

He said the authority is actively investigating how the trade union has been handling security guards’ contributions, estimated to be in billions.

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