Strategies adopted by trade unions in the changing nature of workforce in Kenya
Gitari, David K
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As organisations explore new ways of doing business by adopting new forms and structures, the result has been a dramatic change in the nature of the workforce with consequent impact of diminishing numbers in trade union memberships. This has challenged the unions in such a big way that they have been made to go back to the drawing boards to come up with solutions on how to survive in such dynamic environmental change which keeps evolving every other day. The union being a social as well as a political outfit, the managers have to juggle various options to ensure that the union movement does not die out. This research study is based on the cross sectional survey design. The population under study was made up of 50 worker unions in Kenya as at June 2009. The respondents were General Secretaries and their assistants in the various unions. The researcher used the questionnaire approach to collect the data with the help of a research assistant. A drop and pick method was adopted. A total of 34 completed questionnaires representing 68% of the population were returned and analysed. The results of the analysis show that the strategies that the unions have adopted mostly to cope with workforce changes in Kenya were assertive organizing campaigns at the workplaces in their traditional catchment areas/industry which was engaged by all the unions as shown by a mean score of 5.0 and a standard deviation of 0.172, lobbying employers to retrain and equip workers with necessary skills instead of declaring them redundant shown by a mean score of 4.8 and a standard deviation of 0.496 and lobbying the employer to engage workers on a permanent basis and allowing them to join the unions shown by a mean score of 4.7. From the study, the factors that were mostly considered by most trade unions when choosing the strategy to adopt towards the workforce change dynamic were suitability of the strategy against current strategic position and financial feasibility of the union as shown by a mean score of 4.8 in each, organization capabilities to organize workers as shown by a mean score of 4.7 and the experience of managers in the industry and union activities as shown by a mean score of 4.6.
University of Nairobi, Kenya