The Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (KUSPAW) through its national office and the Kabras Branch in coordination with the management of the West Kenya Sugar Company held a workshop to look at constituting the company’s Joint Safety Committee, writes Norbert Oloo, KUSPAW education officer. The workshop is a result of the ongoing work between the IUF Global Sugar Program and KUSPAW.
The workshop dealt with Kenya’s OSH Act of 2007, the role of joint safety committees, and drafted a plan of action for the KUSPAW Kabras Branch. Speakers were the KUSPAW education officer and OSH government officers from the Kakamega County, where the factory is located. Participants passed important resolutions and recommended activities to be implemented in the June-August period, among them:
- A safety committee to be established in West Kenya as mandated by the OSH Act 2007, with the election of 12 union representatives and appointment of 12 management representatives.
- Training for the newly constituted committee to be held ,, a one-day actititynt to commemorate by theGlobal Sugar Program. For instance, p came about, the reply was ” KUSPwithin 3 months of its establishment.
- Safety Audits to be conducted on an agreed scheduled in 2014-2015, with the assistance from the two government officers attending the workshop.
- Fluid communication on progress to take place among the Kabras Branch, KUSPAW Head Office, the County Safety Enforcement office, and the IUF Global Sugar Program.
- A technical committee of four was elected, two union members and two from management, to oversee the implementation of activities and report on progress to the above mentioned groups.
- Kabras Branch representatives will submit a written report to the IUF Sugar /KUSPAW OSH Workshop scheduled for 13-15 August 2014.
There is a continuity in the OSH work by KUSPAW, which is intertwined with the work of the IUF Global Sugar Program. For instance, the immediate precedent for the workshop is the week-long programme on Occupation Safety and Health, organised by IUF Sugar, which covered five sugar factories in April 2014. That programme included a meeting with the Kabras Branch on April 25, where participants reported that the Joint Safety Committee had not been fully operational since after the company had been acquired by new owners in 2007; that the mandatory Annual Audit and the Quarterly Workplace Inspections had not been done in almost two years; and that there was no dialogue on Safety and Health matters as required by the OSH Act 2007. At the meeting, participants requested the support by KUSPAW national office on OSH matters.
The Kabras Branch workshop was held on 28 May at the Kamadep Hotel in Kakamega, and was attended by 21 participants: 19 union members, including four women, and two management representatives.
 An amusing episode happened at the IUF Sugar Kabras meeting when participants requested the support of KUSPAW national office on OSH matters, starting with a one-day activity. When the IUF Sugar Coordinator asked about the timing for such activity, their first answer was an noncommittal “soon.” When pressed to decide whether the activity would happen before or after the start of the Football World Cup Finals, they decided it needed to be held before such a momentous event. My congratulations to all of them.