Institutional factors influencing teachers’ choice of trade unions in public secondary schools in Dagoretti District, Kenya
The study sought to establish the influence of numerical strength, union’s timely response to members’ needs, peer pressure and effectiveness of Kenya’s teachers’ trade unions strategies on the choice of trade union. The study employed a survey research design and the target population consisted of 12 secondary schools with 320 teachers and 30 union officials in Dagoretti District. The total population included 320 teachers from both Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers and also teachers who are not yet unionized. The total targeted respondents were 110. There were 102 respondents who participated in the study which was 93 percent return rate. Data was gathered using teachers’ questionnaire and interview schedule for union officials. The instrument was tested for reliability through test-retest technique and found reliable. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze data with the assistance of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programmes which generated frequency tables, percentages and bar graphs. The findings of the study were as follows: First, on the question of the extent to which numerical strength of a union influences secondary school teachers choice of trade union in Dagoretti District, it was found that majority of respondents, at 96.8 percent rated numerical strength of a union as a factor that determine teachers’ choice of trade unions, while only 3.2 percent said that size of a union is irrelevant. The respondents highly related numerical strength of a union associating it with greater bargaining power, sense of security and participation, and that their voice can be heard more easily than in small unions. Second, on the question of the influence of unions’ responsiveness to members’ needs on union membership, the results revealed that the respondents joined teachers’ unions; for collective bargaining for better pay, for better work condition, to receive legal advice and services, to interact with colleagues and friends and for personal representation. Third, on the influence of peer pressure among teachers on union membership 91.1 percent of the respondents said that they would prefer to join a trade union where their peers were already members while only 8.9 percent said they would not.Fourthly, on the question as to whether union’s strategies to attract new members affected teachers’ choice of trade unions,47.5 percnt,33.75 percent and 15 percent felt that the unions strategies influenced teachers choice of trade union to great extent, very great extent and some extent. The study concluded that numerical strength of a union, peer pressure, trade unions timely response to the needs of its members, and strategies used by trade unions to attract new members influences teachers’ choice of trade unions. The study further concluded that Kenyan teachers’ trade unions should rethink their strategies. This will attract new members and hence strengthen numerical strength of trade unions. The study recommends that Kenya teachers unions should aim to meet the needs of members and this will have the potential of influencing the ununionized teachers to join a particular union or not. The study further recommends that another study be carried out in other counties to obtain whether similar findings will be obtained.