KUHABWO THE YEAR 2020 HIGHLIGHTS
1.0 UNION BACKROUND
Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Workers (KUHABWO) is a Trade Union which was established in 2009 and registered in 2010 in line with a resolution passed in a meeting attended by workers in Hair and Beauty industry and labor rights activists. The objective was to review and discuss the report on baseline survey which was carried out by a team of labor and human rights activists in Hair and Beauty Industry aimed to study the violation of labor rights and to organize the workers in Hair and Beauty Industry. After the baseline survey report was tabled and discussed by the workers representatives from the Industry from four Counties, namely, Nairobi, Machakos, Kiambu and Laikipia . After serious deliberation on the research findings, it was enormously resolved that there was need to Register the Trade Union .
KUHABWO was then registered as a trade union in December 2010 by the registrar of Trade Unions with registration number TU/157. It represents workers in both formal and informal sectors. It has a membership of over 3000 people covering five counties namely Machakos, Nairobi, Kiambu, Laikipia and Nakuru County which was established in April 2020 during COVID-19 Pandemic
2.0 KUHABWO RESPONSE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The year 200 has been the hardest year in the country and globally due to the Corona Virus pandemic which saw many people lose jobs, income and caused mental illness due to the outbreak of the pandemic. Despite all the challenges this year, we have good things to celebrate. These include;
- In March 2020, the Union signed a recognition agreement with Black and Beauty company and we are now in the process of negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
- We established an association of hairdressers in Nakuru County which led the solidarity of members and we mobilized their Member of Parliament to donate sanitizers and masks to hairdressers to ensure continuity of their business during the pandemic. They also received information on Covid-19 Preventative protocol from the Government.The same group also established a platform which they are using for communication on matters concerning them and for advertising for hairdressing jobs.
- Between Augusts to November 2020, the union in partnership with IndustriALL regional and national office and affiliated Unions in Kenya carried out awareness campaigns on Covid-19 and also organized workers in various work places into joining union membership in Nairobi.
- In one of the hair piece manufacturing companies in the country, the union managed to secure back jobs for 160 union members who had been sent home in March 2020 on unpaid leave and replaced with casual workers
- KUHABWO Sacco in partnership with Kenya Union of Saving and Credit Cooperatives KUSCCO issued of food vouchers to SACCO members
- WAY FORWARD
- Following the pandemic disruption, the union intends to strengthen a saving scheme through the cooperative Sacco by encouraging members to save and borrow for investments as well as introduce a welfare scheme for both the formal and informal members.
- The union will also crate awareness on social protection schemes to members and encourage them to join for their present and future benefits and include clauses in the collective barging that will enable union members
- The Union will also follow up with Ministry of Labour to put a regulatory order in the hair and beauty industry which will enforce the labour law and minimizing workers exploitation by employers
- Seek partners and collaborators in accomplishing the above major activities.
- Organize an establish associations for hair dressers to create awareness on their rights.
KUHABWO wishes to thank the following partners who help actualize the above activities during the pandemic duration n 2020;
- Central Organization of Trade Unions –COTU Kenya
- Ministry of Labour Kenya
- Federation of Kenya Employers FKE
- Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung- Kenya
- Kenya Union of Saving and Credit Cooperatives-KUSCCO
Finally, we are pleased to highlight that KUHABWO was selected by COTU Kenya in January this year we sit in a committee that is working on decent work and social protection to date, where we represent informal workers.
Cecily Mwangi, General Secretary / Founder, KUHABWO.