The Central Organisation Trade Union (COTU-K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has been re-elected for the fourth time as the Vice President of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in the ongoing congress in Melbourne, Australia.
ITUC is the largest trade union organisation in the world with a membership of over 200 million drawn from 13 countries and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
Atwoli’s name was proposed during an active session in Melbourne before 2000 delegates and was unanimously approved by the delegates effectively granting him another four years in office at ITUC.
This is not all that the fiery trade union boss attained in the ongoing fifth Congress because prior to his re-election, he had also been elected, unopposed to the Seven-member Credentials Committee which determines who qualifies as a delegate of the ITUC to participate in the Confederation’s elections.
Mr Atwoli was further elected, unopposed, as the titular member to the General Council of the ITUC to represent the Eastern Africa region. This was after he was proposed by a Tanzanian delegate and was seconded unopposed by his colleagues in the region including trade union leaders from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Mauritius among others.
In his acceptance speech to the Congress, Mr Atwoli appreciated the confidence bestowed on him by his fellow trade unionists and vowed to continue serving them diligently.
“The position you have just bestowed on me this morning is not an easy one. You are sending me to war, to fight for working men and women whenever they are in the world. I am only your soldier whose actions will always come from you; the commanders and I will never let you down” he said.
This re-election comes at a sweet repose to Dr Atwoli who has largely been operating in the shadows since the past August elections in Kenya where many believe things did not go as he had anticipated having predicted the win of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition’s presidential candidate, Raila Odinga’s win.
It was also during this Congress that a new General Secretary of ITUC, Luca Vasentini from Italy, was elected garnering a total of 65 million votes beating his competitor, Kernal Ozkan from Turkey who got 23million votes.
The COTU-K honcho also pledged his support to Mr Vasentini and welcomed him to Kenya where COTU looks forward to hosting the Congress of ITUC-Africa that will bring over 1,000 delegates from Africa and beyond.
The ITUC fifth Congress began last Thursday with the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese addressing the delegates this morning reiterating that governments across the world have the obligation to respect the important roles played by trade unions.
He also urged the governments to support workers’ calls for ratification of various international Laboru Organisation, ILO Conventions to better terms and conditions for workers.
In addition to being ITUC Vice President, Dr Atwoli also serves as a member of the ILO Governing Body and the President of the Organisation of Africa Trade Union Unity (OATUU) with headquarters in Ghana.
The congress ends tomorrow. (November 22).