Cotu faults Government for reintroducing work permit

COTU secretary General Francis Atwoli addressing a press conference. (Photo: Kipsang’ Joseph/Standard)


COTU secretary General Francis Atwoli addressing a press conference. (Photo: Kipsang’ Joseph/Standard)

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has condemned reintroduction of a work permit for East African Community workers who wish to work in Kenya.

The document was suspended by President Mwai Kibaki during his tenure to allow nationals from Rwanda and Uganda to work without paying fees.

Kenya joins Tanzania, which has maintained work permit requirements for its regional neighbours.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli cautioned that the move will derail free movement of labour as envisaged under the Common Market Protocol.

“The decision by the Kenya Government to introduce work permit requirements for all foreigners from East Africa Community countries and outside the region as well as issue deterrent legal measures to those found engaging aliens without requisite documents is a huge blow to the region’s integration process, particularly to the Common Market Protocol,” he said.

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He said the decision shows some people in Government are living in the past because world over, countries are now moving towards free movement of labour.

“For Kenya to realise the elusive economic boom from both external direct and indirect investment, we must promote our sub-regional trade by opening up our borders and allowing our nationals to use their national identification cards as travel documents,” said Mr Atwoli in a statement.

Personal differences

“If these politicians have their own personal differences owing to their individual interests and egoism, which do not conform with the need and aspirations of the people of East Africa, it shouldn’t drive our nation into slamming visas to Tanzanians who are entering Kenya or vice versa because most of these movements are for business purposes,” he said.

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