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Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) urges the National government to Save Del Monte from counties.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has urged the National government to intervene and end the court battles between Del Monte Company and two neighbouring counties.
Cotu said the feud between the company and Murang’a and Kiambu counties does not augur well for investors in the country as well as the locals employed by the firm.
The umbrella trade unions body said the dispute is likely to affect the cordial relationship that Del Monte has enjoyed over the years with the neighbouring communities and thereby impact negatively on its operations. The two counties are demanding for between 3,000 and 6, 000 acres of part of the land occupied by Del Monte as condition for them to extend its leasehold.
Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli warned that the feud would create a dangerous precedence in the country where other counties would follow suit to set various conditions for investors.
“Already more than 6,000 jobs are now at stake and soon these workers may be forced into redundancy and lose their jobs if the demand by Murang’a county for 3000 – 6000 acres of land is granted as a condition for renewal of lease,” said Atwoli.
He warned that the closure of Del Monte, as being agitated by the leadership of Muranga and Kiambu counties would leave the two towns in squalor the same way Webuye was left after the closure of Pan Paper Mills.
“It is unfortunate that such an internationally recognised firm that has put Kenya on the international map could be a subject of intimidation and harassment from elected leaders who should instead be devising ways to uplift the company to greater heights, create more jobs for the locals and hence increase revenue for the two counties,” said Atwoli.
He also urged area politicians to keep off and stop infiltrating into the normal operations of the firm as a way of satisfying certain selfish ends.
Atwoli said it is illegal to force out an investor who has toiled so much and contributed immensely in terms of revenue growth of the entire region.
The trade unionist claimed that some of the leaders agitating for the closure of Del Monte at the expiry of their lease are working for some unnamed new investor who is yet to engage the local people and the market.
“Some leaders say that two investors are coming to the counties and hence require land. I would like to say that this is illogical and irrational and should not be allowed at the expense of such a huge investment,” he said.

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