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Child Labour


According to COTU (K) and its Affiliates, Child Labour is contentious in Kenya because it is a human rights issue afflicting over 1.9 million children in age-groups 6 years to 7 years.

These children are supposed to be attending primary school education as opposed to being subjected to exploitation and hazardous in work places.

These affected children are the workers of tomorrow who are denied their education due to several causative factors but mainly arising from: -

A deficient primary school education system; too expensive, inadequate school places and harsh and unattractive to promote learning; yielding products that are unsuitable for the labour markets,

Poverty amongst Kenyans due to massive unemployment and underemployment in an economy that is unable to create jobs and provide sustainable employment for all economically active Kenyans.

Cultural practices that marginalise girl.
The Trade Unions response to this scandal

2.1: COTU (K) and its affiliates are advocating that: -
Schools and playgrounds are for children and all children must have access to compulsory and free basic education up to a minimum age of 15 years;

Work places are for adults;

An educated labour force will strengthen the labour movement and improve labour productivity and create more wealth;

An educated labour force will promote social justice and democracy.

On these grounds, COTU (K) and it's affiliates will campaign against the engagement of children in economic or commercial activities for again before they attain the age of 18 yeas. At its worst, this supply of labour by children prematurely, voluntary or through force harms the children's normal physical growth.

2.2: Already COTU (K) and its affiliates have established that children find jobs in:
Agriculture - Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers' Union (KPAWU)
Informal Sector including commercial sex - Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW)
- Kenya Local Government Workers' Union (KLGWU)
Domestic Service - Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels Educational Institutions and Hospitals and Allied (KUDHEIHA)
Quarry and Mines - Kenya Quarry and Mine Workers Union
Fisheries - Kenya National Union of Fishermen Workers (KNUFW)

Specific actions being taken by COTU (K) and its affiliates include: -

To secure:-
Observance of International Labour Organizations Core Convention No.138 on the Minimum age of Employment by Kenya in 1979, and

Convention 182 on the worst forms of Child Labour.

Observance of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child ratified by Kenya in 1990,

Compliance with OAU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child,

To advocate for full implementation of the New Children's Act. No. 8 of 2001 and the recently ratified Convention 182 on the worst forms of Child labour which target: -
Slave like labour practices, bonded or forced labour, > Sale of children by parents/relatives,

The use of children for prostitution and the production of pornographic performance or material and other illegal activities,

The exposure of children to hazardous work likely to jeopardize their health, safety and morals due to the manner of the circumstances in which it is performed or carried out,

Stop the employment for the very young (under 14 years) from any forms of work as well as giving special protection to girls.

To enhance the knowledge and sharpen the sills of shopstewards and women workers at the grassroots in detection or identification of all forms of Child Labour and especially those listed at 3.2' and ascertain, document and make reports on non observance of the international instruments and non compliance with national legislation.

To advocate for the harmonization of National with International instruments.

To mobilize all stakeholders, including children themselves, to condemn the tolerance of child labour as a survival strategy for poverty stricken or marginalised groups in the Kenyan Society.

To establish and strengthen the capacities of Child labour as a survival strategy for poverty stricken or marginalised groups in the Kenyan society.

To establish and strengthen the capacity of Child Labour units at COTU (K) and its affiliates named at paragraph 2.3.

To advocate for the full implementation of the National Poverty Eradication Plan 1999 - 2015, aimed at removing poverty from approximately 2.5 million households who currently live below the poverty line.