TOWARDS AN EFFECTIVE KENYAN LABOUR DISPUTE RESOLUTION SYSTEM: A COMPARISON WITH THE SOUTH AFRICAN LABOUR DISPUTE RESOLUTION SYSTEM
Keywords:dual dispute resolution system, protracted referral timeframes, dismissal disputes, non-regulation of maximum timeframes, absence of statutory timeframes, labour dispute resolution system, international labour standards
There have been notable concerns in the current dual dispute resolution system in Kenya. The problems include protracted referral timeframes for dismissal disputes, non-regulation of maximum timeframes for the agreed extension after 30 days conciliation period has lapsed, the absence of statutory timeframes for appointing a conciliator/ commissioner and arbitration process under both the Labour Relations Act, 2007 and the Employment Act, 2007. Likewise, the responsibility of resolving statutory labour disputes in Kenya is still heavily under the control of the government through the Ministry of Labour. There is still no independent statutory dispute resolution institution as envisaged by the Labour Relations Act, 2007. As a result, the Kenyan dispute resolution system has been criticised for lack of impartiality leading to the increase in strikes and lockouts.
This article examines the effectiveness of the Kenyan labour dispute resolution system. The article evaluates the provisions of international labour standards relevant to labour dispute resolution. The article illuminates and describes the bottlenecks in the current Kenyan system and argues that it does not adequately respond to the needs of parties in terms of the international labour conventions. A comparative approach with South Africa is adopted to see how independent institutions, such as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, Bargaining Councils and specialised Labour Courts can lead to effective dispute resolution. In view of that, a wide range of remedial intervention intended to address the gaps and flaws highlighted in the study are made. Systematically, the article provides suggestions and possible solutions for a better institutional framework and processes to address them.
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