Algeria awards Cotu boss Atwoli for his fight for African workers' rights

Saturday February 27 2016

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has been awarded by the Algerian government for his “exemplary efforts in the fight for the rights of the African workers.”

Mr Atwoli was conferred the National Order of Merit by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria.

Mr Atwoli was recognised for his “improvement of their living standards as well as his selfless efforts towards uniting the African labour movement under the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU).

The ceremony was conducted by President Bouteflika’s personal aide Akka Mohammed Salah in the presence of Kenya’s ambassador in Algiers Bonface Munzala.

Mr Salah said: “Algeria recognises our big brother Atwoli for his efforts and the pain he has to go through everyday fighting for workers on this continent.”

Mr Atwoli dedicated the award to the working men and women on the continent saying the recognition “has just rejuvenated his resolve to even fight harder” for both the Kenyan and African workers “towards sustainable social justice for all”.

It is the highest Algerian award to be ever bestowed upon a non-Algerian citizen and the first ever to be awarded to a trade union leader both in Algeria or elsewhere.

The National Order of Merit is awarded to eminent civil, military or public service of Algeria and for exceptional service in the cause of the revolution. It was instituted on 2nd January, 1984.

OATUU, of which is presided by Mr Atwoli, is the umbrella Pan African Trade Union organisation on the continent with headquarters in Accra Ghana and started in 1973.