COTU (K) Education Programs
Since the birth of trade unionism, labor education has been one of the main sources of the movement’s strength, adaptability and durability.
Every year, trade unions train thousands of trade unionists in the basics and techniques of Collective Bargaining, Trade Union Recruitment and Organizing Methods, Occupational Safety and Health Issues, Rights at Work, Equality and so on.
Labour education is a strategic tool for building strong, independent, democratic and representative trade unions that can respond to the challenges imposed by globalization. Labour education aims at strengthening solidarity, building strong and effective unions, inﬂuencing society, organizing and recruiting while promoting equality via the concept of decent work.
Current topics for trade union education /training programmes include; effects of economic globalization, the concept of decent work, good governance, the ﬁght against the spread of HIV/AIDS and against any discrimination towards HIV-positive people, climate change, migration, and the expansion of the informal economy.
The education programs include;
Pan-African Trade Union Education Program (PANAF)
The program is meant to build capacity of union members on their rights and responsibilities in order to empower and strengthen the trade union movement using the study circle methodology.
Some of the areas of coverage include; trade union structures and functions, labour laws, industrial relations, organizing and recruitment, leadership skills, gender and equality.
Labour Rights for Women Program
The objective of the program is to sensitize women workers on their labour rights including; maternity protection, sexual harassment, discrimination and child care. It is implemented through workplace-based training.
OSHE and HIV &AIDS Program
The program’s objective is to build capacity of workers on the provisions of Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and sensitize workers on how to identify occupational hazards and agitate for their prevention. Workers are also encouraged to negotiate for establishment of OSH committees and HIV/AIDS policies at the workplace and include OSH and HIV/AIDS clauses in collective bargaining agreements.
Economic and Financial Literacy Program
Members are trained on basic knowledge e.g. inflation rates, interest rates and price indices, budgeting and goal setting skills. These skills enhance optimal utilization of personal and household incomes and empower workers to negotiate for collective bargaining agreements effectively.
The role of COTU (K) in this sector is to enhance its formalization and advocate for creation and sustainability of decent work. The informal economy workers are sensitized about their rights as constituted in the Kenya Labour Laws and International ILO Standards. Owing to these efforts, Social dialogue has been enhanced, informal workers are represented in relevant institutions and they included in social protection schemes such as NSSF and NHIF.