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Union Pursues Bargaining Terms

The Nation (Nairobi), 9 April 2001

The government should reinstate collective bargaining terms for workers in public schools, a union said yesterday.

The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospital and Allied Workers plans to seek President Moi's intervention over the cancellation of the wage bargaining arrangement.

The union's national assistant secretary-general, Mr Joseph Omolo, said school boards were exploiting unionised members following the withdrawal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Mr Omolo, speaking during the union's Mombasa branch elections at Koblenz Hall on Saturday, said efforts to address the issue through court had failed. "Our only hope is President Moi," he said.

A the same time, the union asked the government to reinstate grants to public schools to reduce the parents' burden of paying school employees.

At the same time, Mr Omolo asked the Labour Commissioner to release the Hotel and Catering Wages Council agreement for publication in the Kenya Gazette.

"We also ask the government to review the domestic servants trade wages council to stop exploitation of such workers and bar maids," he said.

Welcoming the President's order of timetabling for public vehicles, the secretary-general urged the government to incorporate trade unions in the exercise.

"Workers are the most affected when it comes to road accidents and we feel trade unions should be involved in the timetabling programme," he said.

All the executive officials of the branch were re-elected except the vice-treasurer Ali Mwazapha who was replaced by Alice Nganda who scooped 91 against his 78 after a 20-minute stand-off over the chairman's post.

It took the labour inspector Pascal Apolo Opondo more than 20 minutes to restore order after John Barasa was disqualified to stand against the incumbent chairman Athuman Lali.

Trouble started when Barasa was barred from contesting the chairmanship for having a 13 week contribution arrears.

This caused his supporters to boo, heckle and jeer the elections and incumbent officials before threatening to walkout.

However, after the intervention of Mr Opondo and reading of a clause, the members agreed to participate in the elections resulting into the chairman Lali, secretary Nastron Kiamba being returned unopposed while the treasurer Joshua Bomu defeated Abel Omindi to retain his seat.

Copyright 2001 The Nation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).