A seminar on freedom of association and labour rights was conducted in Nairobi 12-13 November, by the Kenyan Union of Journalists (KUJ) and IFJ. Participants were drawn from the KUJ, and chapels in the Nation Media Group, Standard Group Limited, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and British Broadcasting Corporation.
Objectives of the workshop were to:
1. Discuss ILO Conventions 87 and 98 and how they affect trade union movements in Kenya
2. Draw up strategies to increase membership of the KUJ
3. Review safety and security measures for journalists
4. Discuss gender disparities in media and possible interventions
5. Educate union members on laws that govern industrial relations
6. Equip members with collective bargaining negotiation skills
7. Share best practices from other unions
Having noted that Kenya has not ratified ILO Convention 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise), emphasis on freedom of association was placed on Article 41 of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, which guarantees workers the right to organise and join a trade union.
Participants at the Seminar acknowledged that: The IFJ plays a critical role as a global umbrella body that champions press freedom and trade union development. Importantly, article 41 of the Kenyan Constitution and ILO’s Convention 87 and 98 lay down the foundation for trade unions to recruit members and defend welfare, safety and security of journalists. There is a need for proper mechanisms to provide a free environment for journalists to discharge their duties. Women play a critical role in economic development and there is a need to protect their rights at the work place.
Participants noted the following challenges: Dwindling union membership, employers preventing employees from joining the union of their choice, exploitation of correspondents due to lack of employment contracts, lack of resources and a lack of political goodwill towards the union.
The Participants recommended that KUJ should spearhead recruitment and retention campaigns, KUJ and IFJ press cards should be delivered on a wider scale, KUJ should develop a good relationship with employers as a way of improving members’ welfare, KUJ and IFJ should engage with donors and like-minded partners to support activities of the union, KUJ should build capacity of its members in industrial relations and professional development, KUJ should engage with political actors for better media and labour laws.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries