Co-op employees union gets greenlight to operate

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By Our Reporter

The Kenya National Union of Co-operative Staff (KNUCS) has finally overcome legal hurdles to operate in the country, ushering in a new lease of life for workers in the co-operative sector.
The Registrar of Trade Unions E.N Gicheha in a letter dated February 2, 2018, addressed to KNUCS lawyer George Miyare, gave the Union an okay to start its operations.
KNUCS operations had been blocked in court by the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers and two other parties; but their appeal dated January 26, 2016 was struck out.
That effectively meant that the intended appeal failed and there was no any other appeal now pending at the Appellate Court.
“Consequently, the order issued in Appeal No. 1A of 2012 at the Employment and Labour Relations Copurt dated 12th February , 2016, suspending the operations of your client’s union, pending further orders by the Court of Appeal, automatically lapses. In light of the foregoing, I inform you that the suspension of your client’s activities be and is hereby lifted in lieu of the ruling by the Court of Appeal. KNUCS is therefore at liberty to undertake its lawful activities as a trade union, as per law provided,” read Gicheha’s letter.
The letter was copied to the Attorney General, the Executive Director, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) among others.
Following the lift, KNUCS Secretary General Oloo Ogeka told The Sacco Review the union had already embarked on serious recruitment of members.
“We are registering members and our target is about 5,000 members in the next three months and 10,000 members by the close of year 2018,” noted Ogeka.
He said lifting of KNUCS injuction had put Kenya at par with other East African countries, given Tanzania and Uganda already have unions representing workers in the co-operative sector.
Ogeka said it was a pity for Kenya which has a more vibrant co-operative sector to lack a union representing the interests of employee in the sector.
The country’s co-operative sector is billed to be the most vibrant on the African content and the seventh globally.
The sector is also a key player in the economy, controlling about 43 per cent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Its estimated Co-operative Societies in Kenya employs more than 300,000 people, besides providing opportunities for self-employment to many more. Savings and credit co-operative societies (Saccos), the fastest growing sub-sector in the movement, have mobilised savings of more than Sh400 billion.
The co-operative movement also commands 67 and 62 per cent of the total assets and deposits/savings, respectively.
“We are going to target three sub-sectors, namely transport Saccos, Financial Saccos operating FOSA and BOSA and lastly Marketing and manufacturing co-operatives,” observed Ogeka.
Ogeka who noted plans for establishment of the Union’s fully fledged Secretariat were in place, added that in the next 3 years, the Union intends to have at least 30,000 registered members within the co-operative sector.
He said the Union was developing a threeyear strategic plan, with the National Delegates Convention as the supreme authority while the National Governing Council will be responsible for drafting of policies.
“The Secretariat to be established will be totally different from the National Executive Board of the union,” added Ogeka.
He said while the union had lost a lot due to court battles, it was optimistic it will regain its original momentum and recover lost grounds. “There is a lot of good will already. We are also liaising well with Kuscco which is a key play in the sector,” added Ogeka.

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