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Cotu to reap Sh5 billion annually from workers in new rates

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) will reap Sh5.04billion annually from its members after increasing monthly deductions.

The 2.8 million employees will from this month pay an additional Sh50 in statutory deductions to the union increasing the deductions to Sh150 up from the Sh100 statutory fee they have been paying since 2011.

Announcing the changes at Solidarity House in Nairobi on Monday, Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said the change takes effect at the end of this month following the gazettement of the new rate by Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie last Friday.

“Every employer who employs not less than five members of an affiliated trade union, upon receiving notice in writing from Cotu Secretary-General, to deduct a sum of Sh150 from each member and pay the total sum realised from the deductions within ten days from date of deduction,” read the Kenya Gazette notice in part.

Mr Atwoli said the rates were agreed upon following a resolution by delegates at a meeting at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu earlier in May.

EMPLOYEE WELFARE

He said the union uses a lot of funds to look into the welfare of employees and that had made their operations difficult due to the rise in expenses.

He said their bank account has high overdrafts.

“Employees have to cough up to meet administration, management and other matters of the union. We expect employers to pay from end month after gazettement,” said Mr Atwoli.

He said the union has 2.8 million members, mainly from the 44 registered unions affiliated to it.

He said the union pays up to Sh10 million each year for their members’ medical insurance and an extra Sh5.6 million annually for the air ambulance scheme.

He said lawyers take huge sums in addressing workers’ affairs and ensuring their statutory deductions to the pension scheme and the National Hospital Insurance Scheme (NHIF) are not looted by corrupt individuals.

We have 10 lawyers to represent workers and ensure their services are up and effective. They also ensure international labour laws are domesticated.

PER DIEMS

Mr Atwoli also cited allowances in the forms of per diem to union representatives in international conventions as other costs that eat into their funds.

“Employees should understand that the move is to make sure that the representation is high and effective,” he said.

He said the union tries to raise salaries each year and this year, they successfully negotiated the elimination of tax on terminal benefits to lowly paid workers.

Mr Atwoli said he had also called for his own salary to be raised owing to his various responsibilities.

He said the job has many risks and occupational hazards and expects the members to consider his duties as the most representative labour movement in awarding him the pay rise.