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8 most active workers' unions in Kenya

From KUPPET to KMPDU and KUDHEIHA, here is a list of the most active trade unions in Kenya

8 most active workers' unions in Kenya

Labour Day, also known as May Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on May 1 in many countries around the world, including Kenya.

The holiday commemorates the contributions and achievements of workers and the labor movement, and serves as a reminder of the struggles and sacrifices made by workers in the fight for better working conditions, fair wages, and workers' rights.

The first Labour Day celebrations were organized by the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), the umbrella body for all trade unions in Kenya in 1963.

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Since then, Labour Day celebrations have become an important event for unionized workers in Kenya, providing an opportunity for them to come together and celebrate their achievements, as well as to demand further improvements in their working conditions and rights.

More recently, the celebrations have been marked by calls for greater political and social reform, as workers demand greater representation and a stronger voice in the decision-making processes of the country.

The day is marked by rallies, parades, and speeches by labor leaders and government officials, with workers taking to the streets to express their solidarity and call for change.

Currently, COTU represents more than 1.5 million workers, both in the public and private sectors. Kenya has 42 trade unions, 36 of which are under the COTU banner.

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Here are the 8 most active workers' unions in Kenya under the COTU banner.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has been vocal in fighting for the rights of its members in various ways. Some of the ways KUPPET has been vocal in advocating for its members include.

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  • Collective bargaining agreements (CBA): KUPPET has been negotiating and signing CBAs on behalf of its members with the government and school boards.
  • Industrial action. ie using strikes and demonstrations as a tool to pressure the government and school boards to meet the demands of its members.
  • Lobbying and advocacy
  • Training and capacity building through workshops, seminars, and conferences

LSK has been vocal in advocating for better working conditions and fair treatment of lawyers in Kenya.

They have been advocating for the improvement of legal aid services, the protection of lawyers from harassment and intimidation, and the provision of adequate resources for lawyers to carry out their work effectively.

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It has also been active in promoting the professional development of lawyers in Kenya through training programs, seminars, and workshops.

Some of the ways that the union has been vocal include negotiating for better working conditions, advocating for fair pay, addressing grievances. KMPDU has been addressing grievances raised by its members and providing legal representation.

One of the ways that the union has been fighting for the rights of its members is by advocating for the implementation of safety standards in the matatu industry to reduce accidents and ensure the safety of passengers and workers.

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In addition, the union has been advocating for better working conditions for matatu drivers, conductors, and other staff.

This includes the provision of basic amenities such as rest areas and toilets, as well as the provision of protective gear to prevent exposure to health risks associated with the job.

KUDHEIHA has been involved in several industrial actions, including strikes and protests, to push for better working conditions for their members.

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For example, in 2017, KUDHEIHA members working at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) went on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

KUJ has been advocating for press freedom, journalists' safety, fair pay and working conditions, and the right to access information.

It has been actively involved in condemning attacks and harassment of journalists, including cases of intimidation, arrests, and physical assault as well as pushing for the implementation of laws and policies that protect journalists.

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The union has been vocal in fighting for the rights and welfare of its workers in several ways including Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), job security, occupational health and safety and dispute resolution

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Just like KUPPET, the union has been advocating for fair pay, protecting job security through protests and strikes. It also supports members in case of disputes.

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