Effects of trade union activities on employee's welfare: a case of Epz tailors and textile workers union (TTWU) affiliated companies in Athi River
Ireri, Leah Muthoni
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Trade unions are legally recognized as representatives of workers and their activity today centers on collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for their membership, on representing their members in disputes with management over violations of contract provisions, on educating their members thus creating awareness of members rights and advocating policies and legislation on behalf of workers. Until 2003, employees in Kenya's EPZs were banned from joining trade unions. In 2003, 15,000 employees in the EPZ's textile sector went on strike with a long list of grievances, including pay below the minimum wage, no medical schemes, no right to sick leave, trade union repression, excessive working hours, sexual harassment, and unpaid overtime (Omolo, 2006). After these series of strikes, the government agreed to allow zone workers the right to join unions. The basic idea was that, by combining together under a Trade Union, they believed they would be able to negotiate better pay and terms and conditions, they would have access to training for new skills, would be protected against arbitrary management decisions in termination and victimization. Whether employees in the Kenya's EPZ have achieved their objectives is still not documented. Therefore, the proposed study intends to find out the effects of trade unions activities on the employees' welfare with particular attention to the Tailors and Textile Workers Union in the Kenya Export Processing Zone (EPZ), Athi River. This study will take on a causal research design, Gay and Airasian (2003). A sample size of 200 respondents will be chosen using random sampling from the unionized employees of the garment making firms at the Athi River EPZ. This study will use primary data. Qualitative data will be analyzed by categorizing and grouping thematic contents through content analysis to address the research questions. Quantitative data will be analyzed through descriptive statistics such as measure of central tendency to generate relevant percentages, frequency counts, mode, and median and mean where applicable. In order to make the data more user-friendly and attractive to the readers, different graphic interactive presentations platforms such as tables, graphs and charts will be generated using the computer spreadsheet and SPSS to present the data. The result of the study will be useful to employees, trade unions, employers and scholars.