The IUF Global Sugar and Palm Oil Program and the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation Workers (KUSPW) observed the Workers’ Memorial Day, April 28th, with weeklong activities that included workshops on the impact of sexual harassment on the health and safety of sugar workers in Kenya. The program also included a march through the roads of the South Nyanza Sugar Company (SONY), located in the Nyanza Province with the message that good jobs are safe jobs while raising awareness among workers and their families that sexual harassment must also be considered as a hazard in the workplace. Another KUSPW branch at the Nzoia Sugar Estate (Western Province) also observed Workers’ Memorial Day for the third year in a row.
The IUF Sugar/Palm Oil practice of activities that combine workshops to discuss health and safety issues with the mobilisation of union members among the community started in 2014. Commemorating the 2017 Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 included workshops at the sugar estates of Nzoia, Chemelil and SONY, and at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu. They were attended by delegates from KUSPW ten branches who reviewed draft documents for a KUSPW policy and action plan to prevent and fight sexual harassment in the workplace.
The program with KUSPW is part of a regional project under implementation by the IUF Global Sugar and Palm Oil Program with six African affiliates that represent workers in the sugar and palm oil sectors. In the case of Kenya, the focus on sexual harassment as a hazard in the workplace is linked to the work done on Occupation Health and Safety, which produced a union policy and action plan on health and safety. With this work, KUSPW became the only union within the confederation COTU (K) to develop a union policy covering an entire economic sector. The current work aims at KUSPW achieving the same goal in the struggle to preventing sexual harassment in the sugar workplaces of Kenya.