EDUCATION AND TRAINING DEPARTMENT
This is a very important department of the organisation which helps in imparting knowledge and skills to both union leaders and rank and file membership . Since its inception the department has been able to offer a variety of trade union courses such as :-
Organisation and recruitment skills, courses
Negotiations and collective bargaining skills courses
Courses on research methodologies
Courses on integrating gender issues into the mainstream trade union activities
Courses on training of trainers who eventually become trainers at the affiliate and shoplevel
Study cycle educational programs that target the membership at their respective workplaces
Courses tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic
The Tom Mboya Labour College which is located in Kisumu some 500 kilometers from COTU (K) headquarters in Nairobi is an important and integral part of the education department. This college was built by workers contribution in form of a levy . In addition the American Federation of Labor – Central Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO) assisted in the building of the college.
The college has all the capacity to offer various courses in trade union activities and its main purpose is to equip union leaders with skills so that they can effectively protect the rights and interests of workers in Kenya . The current leadership at COTU (K) is looking into ways of expanding the existing physical facilities. It is also envisaged that before the and of this year the college will be connected to the world via internet.
Currently the curriculum of the college is being reviewed with the aim of incorporating the emerging economic challenges facing workers .Issues of productivity and respect of fundamental International Labour Organization Conventions are also to be addressed in depth. Eventually it is hoped that the college would be able to offer Degree courses on trade union related education.
Some of the achievements of the education department are :-
Equipping union leaders from the shoplevel upto the national level with organisation and recruitment skills.
Equipping union leaders from the shoplevel upto the national level with modem collective bargaining agreement negotiations skills .
Equipping union leaders from the shoplevel upto the national level with communication skills.
Integrating of gender issues in trade unions and this has been evidenced by the establishment of women department in most of our affiliates . This departments have also been incorporated in the unions constitutions.
Many trainers in trade unions have been trained and they can now be used as facilitators in the various programs that we run for our affiliates.
COTU (K) PANAF STUDY CIRCLE EDUCATION
COTU (K) PANAF Study Circle Education Programme is a unique program as it is focused on training rank and file at the work places. This kind of Trade Union education is very important to the trade unions as it forms the basis of Trade Union leadership.
The aims and objectives of Panaf Programme are:
Promote Trade Union unity;
Create capacity within Trade Union membership to participate effectively in National issues.
Address the current challenges facing the Trade Union movement.
COTU (K) Panaf Project was initiated by the International Confederation of Free Trade Union in the African Region, ICFTU-AFRO, Organisation of African Trade Union Unity, OATUU and LOTCO Sweden. COTU (K) Panaf Project was launched in February 2005. The project in the year 2006, developed a Training Manual with a title COTU (K) Basic Training Manual for workers. The project is funded by LO/TCO-Sweden.
The topics contained in the manual are:
The Study Circle.
History of Trade Union in Kenya.
Trade Union Structure and functions.
Democracy in Trade Unions.
Gender and Equality.
Labour Laws and ILO core conventions.
Organising and Recruiting.
Collective Bargaining Agreements, Recognition Agreement and Industrial Relations.
Grievance handling procedures.
Occupational Health, Safety and Environment.
Trade Union approach in the fight against HIV/Aids.
The Study Circle Background:
The Study Circle has its roots in our own traditional learning situation, whereby people did not learn in school, but learning took place. Information was passed down from generation to generation using group discussions, songs, story telling, poems and proverbs. This type of learning took place in small huts and around fire places. The grandmothers, grandfathers and elders acted as the Study Circle Leaders.
The Study Circle:
The specific aims of a general workers education is to provide union members with:
The opportunity to express and share their experiences and roles both in trade union and society.
The ability to influence and utilize the resources of Trade Union as a support in their own situations.
The means of developing trade union organisations in ways they feel are in the best of their interest.
Study Circle education plays a major role in changing members attitudes towards different situations.
The study manual has been piloted and tested by different groups of workers and study circle leaders within COTU (K) affiliates. Most of the workers who have gone through this training manual, have commented that, the manual is very useful and have recommended it to be translated into Kiswahili.
So far COTU (K) Panaf Study Circle education programme since its launch in 2005 has managed to train about Six Thousand One Hundred and Twenty Eight (6,128) Study Circle members and Three Hundred Thirty (330) Study Circle leaders in Chemelil, Nairobi, Mombasa, Naivasha, Thika, Eldoret, Nakuru, Webuye and Sony Sugar Company.
The project in the year 2008 targets to train One Hundred and Fifty (150) new Study Circle leaders and Three Thousand (3000) Study Circle members. The Study Circle leadership will be held in Thika - Central Province, Kericho - Rift Valley and Athi-River - Eastern Province.
COTU (K) Panaf Study Circle Education Programme editorial material development committee is intending to develop Basic II Training Manual on Conflict Resolution Management and Trade Union Human Rights.
This Training Manual will be used on training workrs on causes of conflic, how they affect citizens and how the affected could be assisted.
We hope the training manual on Conflict Resolution and Management once developed will be useful to the workers who had been affected during the recent clashes in the country.
Check on our Training Events link for the programme of activities to be organised in the year 2008.