The department was created in 1965 when COTU (K) was established and this is reflected in COTU(K) constitution. Trade unions in Kenya were first involved in Co-operative organisation early in 1962 when some leading trade unions leaders visited Israel which is reputed to be the home of co-operatives. In their visit their aim was to look at workers based consumer co-operative system with a view to starting a similar venture in Kenya.
In the preceding years the common goal of Kenya was to attain independence but the idea of the formation of co-0operatives was eventually formally recognized with the establishment of the co-operative department at COTU (K) in 1965. Since that time the department has been at the forefront in the establishment of apex bodies such as the Kenya union of savings and credit co-operatives Limited (KUSSCO), The Co-operative Bank of Kenya and the National C-operative Housing Union.
Among the Kenya functions of the department are:
- Organise Savings and Credit C-operatives Societies of workers in their work places.
- Sort out disputes arising from among employers and Societies of not deducting members shares and failing to remit to their respective societies.
- Hold meeting with other International Organisation to seek assistance in organising workers co-operative societies and enhancing their knowledge on the new co-operative Act and rules