PROVISION of TRADE UNION ACT (LAWS of KENYA)

Labour Laws

Trade Union defined as per Cap 233 of the Laws of Kenya, it means an combination whether temporary or permanent of more than six persons and must be registered the registrar of trade unions.

Employees Association means an association or combination, whether temporary or permanent, of more than six employees who work for the same employer, which has as its principal purpose the regulation of relations between such employees and their employer or between such employees amongst employees.

Employees organization  means an association or combination, whether temporary or permanent of more than six employees who work for different employers, which has as its principal purpose the regulation of relations between such employees and their employers or between such employees and their employers  or between such employees amongst themselves.

Staff Association means an association or combination of more than 6 employees employed in a civilian capacity under the government or local authority and the principal object of which is regulations of relations of employees or government or local authority.

NB: It is worth noting that only registered trade unions can bargain/negotiate for wages.

Provision of Trade Union Act Includes:

  • Appointment of Registrar and other officers:
  • The Minister shall appoint a Registrar of Trade Unions, who shall be responsible for the due performance of the duties and functions assigned to him as Register under this Act.
  • The Minister may also appoint a Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions and one or more Assistant Registrars of Trade Unions and such other officers as may from time to time be required for the purposes of this Act. Section 7 of Cap 233 says that no suit shall be brought against any of the officers for anything done or omitted to be done him in good faith and without negligence.
  • The trade union registration is to be done within 28 days. Any trade union which fails to register within 28 days can be fined 5000 or jailed.
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  • Registration:
  • Every application for registration shall be made to the Registrar in the prescribed form, and shall be signed at least seven members of the union.
  • In case of association of trade unions, the prescribed form shall be signed the chairman and general secretary of each of the member trade unions.
  • Every application for registration shall be accompanied the prescribed fee and a copy of the rules of the unions and statement of the following particulars namely:
  1. a) The names, occupations and addresses of members making the application (or in case of an association of trade unions)
  2. b) The names and addresses of the registered office of each members trade union
  3. c) The name of the union and the address of its registered office
  4. d) Titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the officers of the union. e) When it was cancelled/suspended.
  5. f) Date of registration or dissolution
  6. The Registrar may refuse to register a trade union and defer its registration and notify it accordingly.
  7. Upon that deferment the trade union shall become a probationary trade union
  8. The Registrar, on registering a trade union under section 11 or section 12, shall issue to the union a certificate of registration in the prescribed form, and that certificate, unless proved to have been cancelled or withdrawn, shall be conclusive evidence for all purposes that this trade union has been duly registered under this Act.
  9. The Registrar may call for further information for the purpose of satisfying himself that any application complies with the provisions of section 10 or that the trade union is entitled to registration under this Act.
  10. The Registrar has the power to alter the name of a trade union – if the name proposed to be registered is identical with that which any other existing trade union has been registered.
  11. Or if in the opinion of the Registrar the name proposed resembles or may mislead the members of the Public the Registrar may alter the name proposed for the trade union.
  • The Registrar may refuse to register any trade union or probationary trade union if he is satisfied that:
  1. a) The union has not complied with the provisions of this Act or any regulations made there under or
  2. b) Any of the objects of the constitution of the union is unlawful or conflicts with any such provision or
  3. c) The union is used for unlawful purposes
  4. d) Any other trade union already registered is;
  5. i) In the case of a trade union of employers or of employees, sufficiently representative of the whole or of a substantial proportion of the interests in respect of which the applicants seek registration
  6. ii) In the case of an association of trade unions, sufficiently representative of the whole or a substantial proportion of the trade unions eligible for membership thereof.
  7. e) The principal purpose of the trade union registration are not in accord with those set out in the definition of trade union‛ contained in section 2
  8. f) The funds of the union are being applied unlawful
  9. g) The accounts of the union are not being properly kept

1O.h) The secretary or treasurer of the union is in his opinion incapable reason of not being sufficiently literate in English or Swahili language of carrying out adequately the duties of secretary or treasurer



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