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Francis Atwoli; (born 6 June 1949) is a Kenyan Trade Unionist who is currently serving as the Secretary General of the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Kenya) (COTU). He has served in that capacity, since he was first elected in 2001
The world trade leader is the Secretary-General of the Central Organisation Trade Union (COTU), a position he has held since 2001.
He is also the General Secretary of the Kenya Plantation & Agricultural Workers Union and the President of the Pan African Labour movement, the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU.
||6 June 1949
Kakamega County, Kenya.
||Cavendish University Uganda
National Labor College
University of Turin
||Secretary general of the Central Organization of Trade Unions of Kenya.
Atwoli further serves as a member of the National Labour Board of Kenya and Council Member of National Industrial Training Authority of Kenya (NITA).
He is a recipient of both the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) and the Moran of the Burning Spear, (MBS) awards in recognition of his role in Championing for Social Justice and has an honorary in Doctor of Humane Letters (Labour Relations) from Masinde Muliro of University of Science and Technology (MMUST).
In 2020, Atwoli was at the forefront of championing the rights of workers after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted economic activities in the country. He protested against employees retrenching their staff and called for pay cuts, but asked employers to engage with labour movements before effecting the same.
He also urged landlords to offer waivers to Kenyans rather than evict tenants from their houses.
Atwoli also mediated the row between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). KNUT had threatened to strike over teachers promotions and salaries. Atwoli also engaged the Ministry of Labour to solve the issue.
On the political front, he pushed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) agenda and lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga for the handshake.
Career of Francis Atwoli
In his role as a representative of Kenyan workers, Atwoli has expressed criticism of politicians on issues such as their refusal to pay taxes on their allowances, and dabbling in corruption. He has also been critical of non-governmental bodies and global institutions including the World Bank, interfering with labor disputes. He openly supports police officers when they advocate for the creation of a police officers’ union.
- 2001 – to-date: Secretary General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions Kenya.
- 1994 – to-date: General Secretary of the Kenya Plantation & Agricultural Workers Union.
- 1986 – 1994: Director of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, Kenya.
- 1971 – 1986: Branch Secretary, Union of Posts and Telecommunication Employees.
- 1967 – 1986: Senior Technician at Kenya Posts & Telecommunication Corporation.
Francis Atwoli Elected positions and appointments
|Francis Atwoli’s Positions of Responsibility
|2014 to date
||Elected the President of the Pan African Labour movement, the Organization of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU
|2008 to date
||Elected as Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization, (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland
|2011 to date
||Elected Board Member of Training Centre of the International Labour Organization in Turin, Italy
|2001 to date
||Member, Board of Trustees at the National Social Security Fund (Kenya) (NSSF)
|2001 to date
||Council Member of National Industrial Training Authority of Kenya (NITA)
|2001 to 2010
||Member of National Aids Control Council of Kenya (NACC)
|2001 to 2007
||Elected Vice President of the former ICFTU-AFRO in Nairobi, Kenya
|2003 to date
||Elected every year as Director of National Bank of Kenya
|2003 to 2009
||Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC)
|2004 to date
||Member of National Labour Board of Kenya
|2005 to date
||Elected Deputy President of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) based in Accra, Ghana
|2005 to date
||Elected President of Trade Union Federation of Eastern Africa (TUFEA) based in Khartoum, Sudan
|2005 to date
||Elected Executive Board Member and now serving Vice President of International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, based in Brussels, Belgium
|2005 to date
||Elected Chairman of East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) based in Arusha, Tanzania
In addition to his responsibilities at COTU, Francis Atwoli has the following additional responsibilities:
- Independent Non-Executive Director, National Bank of Kenya
- Chairman, East African Trade Union Confederation
- President, Trade Union Federation of Eastern Africa
- President, Organisation of African Trade Union Unity
- Member, Governing Body, International Labour Organization
- Vice President, International Labour Conference
- Vice President, The International Trade Union Confederation
- Secretary General, Kenya Plantation & Agricultural Workers Union
Francis Atwoli Awards
He is a recipient of both the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) and the Moran of the Burning Spear, (MBS) awards in recognition of his role in Championing for Social Justice.
Masinde Muliro of University of Science and Technology awarded Atwoli with an honorary Doctorate of humane letter D. Litt.
Francis Atwoli Family
Mr. Atwoli is married to Three wives, Jenifer Khainza Atwoli Roselinder Simiyu And Mary Kilobi,  Mr. Francis Atwoli has seventeen children.