Registration of Trade unions
Registration of Trade unions
The Registrar of Trade Unions(RTU) is a state department within the Ministry of Labour that is mandated to register Trade Unions within the country and also provide administration of the same unions.
The Registrar of Trade Unions in Kenya is the government office under the ministry of Labour, that registers and oversees the operations of trade unions in the country. The process of registering a trade union takes six months and is provided for in sections 12, 13 and 14 of the Labour Relations Act, 2007, Laws of Kenya.
The registration process starts when any two persons apply for a certificate to promote the establishment of a trade union wherein the name of the proposed trade union and any prescribed information are specified. A certificate shall specify that the promoter may undertake lawful activities towards establishment of a trade union. Application for registration of a trade union shall be made to the registrar of trade unions within six months of the date of the certificate issue.
A trade union certificate of registration may be withdrawn if the registrar has a reason to believe that the certificate was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake or that any person has undertaken unlawful activities in contravention of the Labour Relations Act, 2007.
No person shall recruit members for the purpose of establishing a trade union or employers’ organization unless that person has obtained a certificate from the Registrar. An application for the certificate shall be signed by two persons who are promoting the establishment of the trade union or employers’ organization, specify the name of the proposed trade union or employers’ organization and contain any other prescribed information.
The Registrar shall issue a certificate within thirty days of receiving an application unless, the application is defective or the name of the proposed trade union or employers’ organization is the same as that of an existing trade union or employers’ organization or is sufficiently similar so as to mislead or cause confusion. After obtaining an Interim certificate from the Registrar of Trade Unions, the trade union may apply for registration within six months if:
i.They have complied with the Labour Relations Act, 2007.
ii.They have adopted a constitution that complies with the requirements of the Labour Relation Act, 2007 and requirements set out in the first schedule.
iii.The trade union has an office and postal addresses within Kenya.
iv.No other trade union is already registered that is sufficiently representative of the whole or substantial proportion of the interests in respect of which the applicants seek registration.
v.Only members in the sector specified in the union constitution qualify for membership of the trade union.
vi.The name of the trade union is not the same as that of an existing trade union.
vii.The decision to register the trade union was made at a meeting attended by at least fifty members of that trade union.
viii.The trade union is independent of direct or indirect control of any employer or employers’ association.
ix.The trade union’s sole purpose is to pursue the activities of a trade union.
Requirements for registering a trade union
A trade union may apply for registration if it has applied for registration in accordance with the Labour Relations Act 2007.
The trade union shall adopt a constitution that complies with the requirements of this Act, including the requirements set out in the First Schedule.
The trade union shall have an office and postal address within Kenya.
It must not have been registered before. In the case of a trade union of employers or of employees, sufficient representative of the whole or of a substantial proportion of the interests in respect of which the applicants seek registration shall seek registration.
In the case of an association of trade unions, enough representatives of the whole or a substantial proportion of the trade unions eligible for membership will apply for registration.
Provided that the Registrar shall, by notice in the Gazette and in one national daily newspaper with wide circulation, notify any registered trade union, federation of trade unions or employers’ organizations which appear to him to represent the same interest as the applicants of the receipt of such application and shall invite the registered trade union federation of trade unions or employers’ organization concerned to submit in writing, within a period to be specified in the notice, any objections to the registration subject to subsection (2) of the Act. Only members in a sector specified in the constitution qualify for membership of the trade union;
The name of a registered union should not be the same as that of an existing trade union, or sufficiently similar so as to mislead or cause confusion. The decision to register the trade union should be made at a meeting attended by at least fifty members of the trade union.
The trade union shall be independent from the control, either direct or indirect, of any employer or employers’ organizations, and its sole purpose is to pursue the activities of a trade union.
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of the Labour relations Act 2007, the Registrar may register a trade union consisting of persons working in more than one sector, if the Registrar is satisfied that the constitution contains suitable provisions to protect and promote the respective sectoral interests of the employees.
If the proposed name of a trade union, employers’ organization or federation is the same or sufficiently similar to that of an existing organization so as to mislead or cause confusion, the Registrar shall request the applicant for registration to alter the name of the trade union or employers’ organization or federation, or not register the trade union, employers’ organization or federation until a suitable alteration has been made.
When the registration process is done, the trade union is duly registered and becomes part of recognized trade unions the country.
Any member from a recognized union is allowed to enjoy the benefits of membership as long he or she is 18 years and above according to the provisions of Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act, 2007. Voting members for the union must be the ones whose employer is in the sector for which the trade union is registered and his/her subscriptions must not be more than 13 weeks in arrears.
The Registrar of Trade Unions Offices is located on the 15th Floor, Block A of the National Social Security (N.S.S.F) house- Bishops Road in Upper hill Nairobi.