Union for Co-op staff gets Govt’s greenlight

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By Staff Reporter

The Government has officially endorsed the Kenya National Union of Co-operative Staff (KNUCS) and directed all employers under the co-operative sector to co-operate with it.
In a letter dated May 4, 2018 addressed to the Co-operative Alliance of Kenya (CAK), the Commissioner of Co-operatives Mary Mungai told employers in the sector that KNUCS had been registered to cater for the welfare of staff under the cooperative sector.
“You are, therefore, required to bring the attention of your affiliate members’ societies to accord it the support,” read the letter signed by Senior Deputy Commissioner Geoffrey Njangombe on behalf of the Commissioner.
Sacco Review has also learnt the office of the Commissioner of Labour is to issue a gazette notice to activate a check-off system for KNUCs.
Four months back, KNUCS overcame 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 appeal now pending at the Appellate Court.
“Consequently, the order issued in Appeal No. 1A of 2012 at the Employment and Labour Relations Court 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 Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) among others.
Following the lifting of suspension on its activities, KNUCS Secretary General Oloo Ogeka told 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 suspension on KNUCS operations 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 workers in the sector.
The country’s co-operative sector is billed to be the most vibrant on the African continent 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 employ more than 300,000 people, besides providing opportunities for self-employment to many.
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 savings deposit, 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,” noted Ogeka.
He said the union was developing a three year 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.

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