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Cotu mulls workers’ strike over fuel prices




Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has threatened to call for nationwide protests over the latest increment in petroleum prices by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli termed the increment in petroleum prices “an indirect implementation of the 16 percent VAT tax” protested against by Kenyans.

He called for President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in what he calls “impractical increase in petrol, diesel and kerosene prices” or they take the government to court.

He said that as an umbrella body for workers, they will not allow the increments to continue being implemented without a fight.

“We will convene an affiliate meeting next week to plan for a way forward that will make the government review the increase that affect all Kenyans.

“One of the options we will be dealing with is either take the government to court or press government through nationwide protests led by Cotu,” said Mr Atwoli on Thursday.

In its latest review last week, the ERC announced that super petrol, diesel and kerosene prices had gone up by Sh2.38, Sh3.11 and Sh2.99 respectively in Nairobi.

ERC attributed the changes to increased fuel imports costs that have affected the global market since September this year.

On Thursday, Mr Atwoli stated that the recent increment will only serve to make the cost of direct essential commodities, housing and transport to go up.

He said that the increment will put a strain on the already overburdened taxpayers who are still struggling to pay fares, with the ongoing crackdown and implementation of the stringent “Michuki rules” in the transport sector.

“It is only in Kenya that cost of petroleum products can go up with a skyrocketing percentage and the government allows it…

“The [ERC] advertised the new prices for the period between November 15 and December 14 increasing petrol price by Sh6 and diesel by Sh8 in major towns in the country,” he said.