Secretary-General Francis Atwoli of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has defended his apparent silence regarding the high cost of living and increased taxation in the country.

Addressing the 5th Congress of the International Confederation of Trade Unions Africa (ITUC-Africa) in Nairobi on Tuesday, Atwoli stated that he has engaged in discussions with President William Ruto regarding the contentious issues.

The trade unionist disclosed that the union has formally presented a list of its non-negotiable essentials to the President, along with the anticipated timeline for their implementation.

“Many people are asking why is COTU not speaking up about the cost of living…why COTU is not talking about the rising taxation…but I can assure you that I have engaged the President, and he has given us his side of the story, and we have given him ours. And we have given ourselves time when we expect things to change,” Atwoli explained.

The COTU boss acknowledged the public’s concerns and expressed appreciation to employers who have proactively tackled the challenges associated with the cost of living.

Emphasizing the influential role employers play in transferring these costs to consumers and workers, he advocated for collaboration between the two parties to mitigate hardships.

 “I want to thank employers for addressing the issue of the cost of living. Employers have the ability to transfer the costs and business expenses to someone – either a consumer or a worker,” Atwoli said.

“As workers, we lack someone to pass the burden to, which is why it is crucial for employers and workers to unite in addressing the challenges of the cost of living.”