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Unions History

The Communication Workers’ Union of Kenya was formed in the year 1955 under the name of African Posts and Telecommunications staff Association of East Africa. The employer then was the East African Posts and Telecommunications Corporation in the year 1964 after all the East African countries constituting the East African Community had attained independence from the British.

Before the formation of the African staff Association for Europeans and Asians. In 1964, there remained only one union which merged with the Asians Staff Association and named Union of Posts and Telecommunications Employees Kenya.

One Asians official was given the Post of National Treasurer. The rest of the posts were occupied by Africans, which formed the majority of membership while the European Staff Association was disbanded since they were all in the Management.

It was at this juncture that a formal Recognition Agreement was entered into between the Management of East African Posts and Telecommunication Corporation and the three Unions of East Africa i.e. Union of Posts and Telecommunications Employees. (Kenya), Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Employees Union and National Union of Tanganyika Workers.

In 1977, the East African Community disintegrated each country remained with its own country’s Union . UPTE (K) went it alone with the newly created Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation as the employer.

The leadership of the Union was being elected every3 years as from 1955 until the year 1966 when the change in then Kenya Federation of Labour took place and its name changed to Central Organization of Trade Unions (KENYA) when the Labour Legislation was changed for all Unions and COTU (K) to be holding annual delegates conferences including grass-root and national elections to be held every 5 years.

So in that year, the late Chadwick Adongo was confirmed the General Secretary of UPTE (K). It must be remembered that Mr. Adongo became the General Secretary of the Union as from 1962 taking over from Mr. Yamo who served for less than two years after taking over from the late Ely Habwe who was promoted to Assistant Director General Personnel during Africanization. Mr. Habwe took the helm from Mr. Raymond Odhuno who was temporarily employed by the Postal Telegraphs Telephone Inter national (PTTI) to keep the office until the incumbent was elected.

Mr. Adongo served the union until 1980 when it was taken over by the late Ali Ismael Mohammed who served until his death in the month of September 1998. Mr. George Ochieng Owiti who was his deputy finished the remaining term up to 2001, when it was taken by the incumbent-Mr. Benson Okumu Okwaro, who is steering the Union to date.

After the split of the giant KPT& C, and the emergence of various Communication providers, there became the need to change the name of the union so as to conform with these development and hence the name “COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION (K)”.

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