Under the project “Organizing workers for trade union unity of action, density and quality public services” sponsored by Kommunal/Union to Union, young workers in Kenya held a training on 12 August 2021 for International Youth Day.
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The eight PSI affiliates in Kenya namely; Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU), Kenya Electrical Trade and Allied Workers Union (KETAWU), Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW), Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU), Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) and Union of National Research Institutes Staff of Kenya (UNRISK) all participated in this training.
Having noted that young workers do not actively participate in union activities, participants were tasked to discuss four questions which included:
Identifying qualities of a young leader
The role of a youth leader
Importance of youth in leadership
How to develop young workers in trade unions
Young workers from eight Kenyan PSI affiliates came together on International Youth Day, 12 August 2021, for a training session in the framework of the PSI project “Organizing workers for trade union unity of action, density and quality public services” sponsored by Kommunal/Union to Union.
Young workers union training on International Youth Day 2021
Members felt that a young leader must be visionary, with good communication skills, accountable and of high integrity. Young workers in Kenya have been on the forefront of IT programmes within their respective unions handling the social media platforms thereby bridging the gap between the young and the old. They confirmed that young workers in leadership positions advocate and articulate on issues affecting their fellow colleagues as employees and members. They also ensure that young workers are recruited into the union membership and therefore the need to be empowered in order to understand labour matters.
Consequently, young workers are usually outsourced and employed on contracts, limiting their participation in activities as they cannot join the unions. This therefore means that they should look into strategies that can make more young workers participate in trade union activities.
Outlined below are some of their suggestions on strategies to be considered:
Unions should create more leadership positions for young workers within their constitutions/structures.
Students in colleges/universities can be approached so that once they graduate, they automatically become union members.
Unions should have budget allocations for young workers activities/events.
Young workers should be incorporated in unions’ decision-making organs in order to have a voice that shapes their future. They will then protect the disadvantaged and vulnerable among them.
The young workers are forever grateful to PSI, Kommunal and Union to Union for sponsoring trainings that empower them to run their respective union activities.