The Kenya Boda Boda, Tuk Tuk and Taxi Workers Union was created in response to the growth in informal employment and workers reporting increased harassment, concerns about the precarious nature of the work and frustration at the lack of any effective organisation to represent and promote their interests.
The union’s first application for registration was rejected by the national labour board on the grounds there was no clear employer-employee relationship in the informal transport sector. However, the union appealed, largely on the basis of the report on the ITF’s informal workers project, and the employment and labour relations court granted registration on 20 December 2016.
In its ruling, the court said: ‘When workers in the informal economy organize, they benefit from their affiliation with such resourceful International Trade Unions, like the ITF. This association on the whole is beneficial to the national economy…Organization assists the informal workers in bridging the gap in terms of social protection, with the formal economy, while ensuring the informal economy which is driven by a grey labour market, does not slide into the clasp of a black-labour market.’
Cynthia Bridget Wanyonyi, general secretary of the Kenya Boda Boda, Tuk Tuk and Taxi Workers Union, said: “We are so grateful to the ITF for helping us achieve this breakthrough, which will bring real benefits to Kenya’s informal transport workers.”
Alana Dave, ITF education officer and Our Public Transport programme leader, added that she hoped this would give heart to unions facing similar struggles in other countries.
Find out more about the ITF’s informal transport workers project.