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Kenya Methodist University

Distance Learning Material

HRMG 333/335
Published by Kenya Methodist University
P.O. Box 267 60200, Meru
Tel: 254 064 30301, 31146


Employee relations are a key feature in the nature of managing employment. It brings together
the sources of power and legitimacy, rights and obligations, that management and employees
seek for themselves and apply to others. This unit is concerned with explaining this relationship
and examining how it works out through variety of applications such as law, collective
bargaining performance and reward, settlement of disputes and grievances and employees
At the end of this course students should be able to:
1. Appreciate the concept of employment relationship as a process of socio-economic
exchange through discussion of management function and its prescriptions.
2. Explain the role of collective bargaining in the context of human resource management
and examine recent changes and contemporary issues in collective bargaining.
3. Critically examine contemporary issues and trends in remuneration and reward strategies
techniques and philosophies.
4. Explain employee involvement and examine its recent historical development including
cycles and waves and other discernible patterns and examine the various type of
employee involvement schemes practiced in organizations.
5. Examine the main theoretical and practical developments in international HRM.
6. Explore recent developments in HRM and labour relations in Kenya.
7. Identify the importance of social dialogue in shared vision and values as well as
information sharing to create good industrial relations in organizations.


Topic 1: Nature and role of employee relations.

History of industrial relations in Kenya.
Significance of Industrial relations.
Conditions for good industrial relations.
Causes of poor industrial relations.
The Industrial relations charter.
The recognition agreement.

Topic 2: Industrial relations stake holders.

Parties to Industrial relations.

Types of Industrial relationships.

Topic 3: Framework for Industrial relations in Kenya.(ass)

Players in Labor relations in Kenya.
Central Organization of Trade unions in Kenya.
Functions of COTU.
The structure of COTU.
Federation of Kenyan Employers.
The structure of FKE
Functions of FKE
Topic 4 : The Industrial Court. (ass)
The establishment of the Industrial Court.
The industrial Court procedures.

Topic 5: Collective Bargaining.

Definition of collective bargaining.

Features of collective bargaining.
Factors influencing collective bargaining.

Topic 6: Grievance and dispute settling Machinery.

Causes of grievances.
Causes of grievances.
Grievance procedures.
Benefits of a grievance system.
Industrial disputes.

Topic 7: Trade Union and Trade Unionism.

Trade union organization and structure.
Types of trade unions.
Functions of trade unions.
Historical background of trade unions in Kenya. (ass)
Topic 8: Discipline and disciplinary procedures. (ass)
Types of discipline problems.
Disciplining special employee groups.

Tom P. Muchelle a hand book of employee relations

Dr. Karim Omido Distance Learning Material Kenya Methodist University.

Juanita M. Kreps, Martin Richard Perlman, Gerald G Somers, (1980). Contemporary Labour
Economics and Labour Relations, Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Liontos, Demetri. (2002) Collaborative Bargaining: Case Studies and Recommendations.

Eugene: Oregon School Study Council, University of Oregon, OSSC Bulletin Series. 27 pages.
ED number not yet assigned.

Marsh and Soulsby (1981) Business Law, fifth education, Bath Press, Avon in Great Britain.

McMahon, Dennis O. "Getting To Yes." Paper presented at the annual conference of the
American Association of School Administrators, New Orleans, LA, February 20-23, 1987. ED
280 188

Continuous Assessment/ Work based assignments/ group presentations 30%
Final Exam




Topic 1: Nature and role of employee relations.

History of industrial relations in Kenya
Industrial relations in the 1900s and 1960s
Introduction of capitalism in Kenya through British colonialism was the genesis of the present
day employer-employee relations in Kenya. As early as the 1900s trade unionism in Kenya has
began making itself felt within the then major employer organisation the Kenya- Uganda

By 1939, the total number of employees in Nairobi then represented about 1% of the potential
labour force in the country. The total labour force was at about 5%. However, this tinny % of
wage employees was to constitute a significant force for the employers to reckon with and in
1947, the first major worker employer confrontation took place. The first major trade unionAfrican workers federation formed that same year was responsible for this strike in Mombasa.

This strike was the beginning of militancy that was to continue well into the emergency period
starting in October 1952. The perceived link between Mau Mau and Trade unionism by the
colonial government helping slacken Union activity. The defeat of the armed struggle saw the
revival of unionism and by 1958, among others, the following unions had been registered;
Kenya Shoe and Leather Workers Union, Kenya Engineering Workers Union, Kenya Timber
and Furniture Workers Union, Kenya Electrical Trade Workers Union, Tobacco Brewing and
Bottling Workers Union, Kenya Motor Engineering and Allied Workers Union and Kenya
Quarry and Mine Workers Union.

The issue of recognition of the unions was another matter all together. For instance, the Kenya
Engineering Workers Union was only recognized on 10th June 1960. Recognition by the
employer organisation was and still is, therefore, an important step in the process of establishing
formal union-employer remuneration negotiation channels.

It is significant that in the Agricultural sector, the trade union movement made itself felt fairly
late. It is only in 1959 that the first agricultural workers union sisal and coffee plantations
Workers Union was formed. This was followed by Tea Plantation Workers Union, General

Agricultural Workers Union, Kenya Union of sugar plantation Workers union all coming in
1960. These appeared in the plantations near Nairobi, possibly due to pressure and influence
from the urban movements.
Industrial Relations Development, 1960s 1970s
By the 1960s the industrial relations scene in Kenya had become dominated by foreign
owned commercial and industrial organisations. The employers association (later renamed
federation of Kenya employers) the ACIE (Association of Commercial and Industrial
Employers) felt the need for closely monitoring the development of amicable industrial

In 1962, the industrial relations charter was signed by the three major actors in Kenyan IR
scene; the Kenya Government, Federation of Kenya Employers and the Kenya Federation of
Labour. The charter was to stem the tide of strikes that had begun in 1961. It was to avoid such
strikes that the charter pointed out that: It is in the National interest for the Government, Management and workers to recognize that
consultation and cooperation on a basic of mutual understanding render an essential
contribution to the efficiency and productivity of an undertaking and that progress can only be
made on a foundation of goods terms and conditions of employment which include security of
service and income, also the improvement of workers conditions of service

The cause of these strikes were as varied as the various employer organisation, but they all
shared the usual grievances; poor supervision, racial connotation in access to higher status
positions and remuneration.
Strikes continued to be occasioned even after the charter more often, employers failed to meet
some of their promised obligations and the new African government was more sympathetic to
the employers cause than to that of the workers, who were being accused of engaging in counter
productive practices.

Workers now felt betrayed by their leaders who had become national political figures, and soon,
the Kenya Federation of labour found itself facing stiff rivalry from the Kenya African Workers
Congress, which claimed to be the real champion of the workers cause.

The government swiftly stepped in to avoid conformations. The end result was the formation of
C.O.T.U (Central Organisation of Trade Union), which though an amalgamation of the two
warring factions took more of the nature of Kenya Federation of Labour in its policies. The
government Employer alliance had now won a major battle against workers.

Through time, the trade union movement in Kenya has continued to be subjected to server
restrictions by the government. The industrial court had been seen as an effective instrument for
meeting out justice. However government activities like through the issuance of wage guideline
has now cast doubts to the courts independence

The Trade Disputes Act, 1965, apart from establishing the Industrial Court introduced into the
Kenyan industrial relations system, complicated procedures before a strike can take place. The
Act and its rules and procedural regulations have tended to minimize the freedom of the
workers in resorting to a strike as a last resort.

The trade union movement though strong in numbers is still weak in terms of influencing key
managerial decisions. The weakness of trade unionism is vindicated by the fact that:

Unions do not provide any form of assistance to their members in the event they set victimized
due to a strike Except far a few unions, membership recruitment is done by the organizing
secretaries and shop-stewards Relatively few unions after any service other than bargaining and
grievance handling to the members Most unions are one-man shows with the general secretary
doing all the bargaining, handling all major grievances, resolving problems in the branches and
so on.

These Union weaknesses are contrasted with the powerful position of the employers. The FKE
provides all sorts of assistance to its employer associations, has great financial strength and
always counts on government support in the event of a strike. The FKE has its own economics

advisers, lawyers and IR experts, who boost the organisations, position vis--vis that of the
workers on the bargaining table.

Features of Industrial Relations


It is an interactive process - Industrial relations (IR) does not operate in isolation. It

entails a multi-level relationship between various unions existing within and outside of
the organization, the relationship between union(s) and government, the relation
between union(s) and employers, and the relation between government and employers.
As such IR is wide in scope. It also includes courts and tribunals as solution
mechanisms of last resort.


IR aims at satisfaction - IR endeavors to satisfy all stakeholders. It particularly aims to

gratify employees and the management of an organization on an equal footing. It does
not lead intentionally to a skewed relationship especially between the two but rather
aims at an amicable meeting of minds on various issues of interest pertaining to the

iii. IR is interdisciplinary - IR is multifaceted. It does not dwell upon a single issue. It

involves numerous issues most of which are topical although conventional issues also
do feature. Thus IR involves issues touching on sociological aspects of stakeholders
involved, their psychology, physiology and the like.
iv. IR is complex - IR concerns human beings and their intricate and composite nature of
association. It entails their attitudes. Since human beings are complex species, their
attitudes are not very predictable. This makes it multifarious. IR therefore involves
complex nature of human behavior.

IR is dynamic - IR changes with the times. Nothing remains the same forever. IR is no
exception. It is flexible and resonates with the times. It however is not a fad.


The significance of good industrial relations in any country cannot be overemphasized. Good
industrial relations are necessary for various reasons.

Good industrial relation helps in the economic progress of a country. The problem of an
increase in productivity is essentially the problem of maintaining good industrial

Good industrial relations help in establishing and maintaining true industrial democracy,
which is a prerequisite for the establishment of a socialist society

Good industrial relations help management both in the formulation of informed labour
relations policies and their translation into action

Good industrial relations encourage collective bargaining as a means of self-regulation.

They consider the negotiation process as an educational opportunity, a chance both to
lean and to teach

Good industrial relations help government in making laws for bidding unfair practices of
unions and employers

Good industrial relation reflects themselves in several ways. In workers movement

unions gain more strength and vitality. There is no inter-union rivalry. Employers give
unions their rightful recognition and encourage them to participate in all decision.
Unions divert their activities form fighting and belligerence to increasing the size of the
distribution cake and to making their members more informed, no vital issues
concerning them.

Good Industrial relations boosts the discipline and morale of workers. Maintenance of
discipline ensures orderliness, effectiveness and economy in the use of resources

Maintain cordial relations - The primary aim of having IR concept in place is to

promote healthy and cordial relationships among players in the industry. As such IR is
concerned with cultivating and maintaining good relations between management and
labour, management and government, government and employers and organization and
society among others.

Promote democracy - IR aims at instituting democratic tenets within and outside of the
enterprise. It seeks to ensure promptness in resolving challenges that may arise.
Essentially it aspires to establish and maintain democracy based upon stakeholder

Avoid conflicts - There are many kinds of conflict. IR aims at ensuring the elimination
of conflict of interest since this has the propensity to distabililise harmonious relations in
the organization. IR also endeavours to ensure functional conflict is encouraged because
it leads to development. What it does not condone is dysfunctional conflict. All forms of

this destructive conflict is avoided. This will culminate in ensuring industrial peace and
better quality of work life.

To raise productivity - IR aims at bettering organizational performance. It strives to

increase profits and output. Thus it achieves by targeting to reduce employee turnover
and absenteeism besides cultivating a culture of commitment to the organization.

Improve welfare - IR cannot be skewed towards the organization alone. It must also
focus on increasing employee welfare. IR therefore aims at improving economic and
professional welfare of employees.


Good industrial relations depend on a great variety of factors. Some of the more obvious ones
are listed below:

1. History of Industrial Relations

2. Economic satisfaction of workers
3. Social and psychological satisfaction of workers
4. Off-the-job conditions of workers
5. Enlightened and responsible labor unions
6. Negotiating skills and attitudes of management and workers
7. Public policy and legislation
8. Education of workers
9. Nature of industry and business cycle


History of industrial relations

A good history is marked by harmonious relationship between management and workers. A bad
history by contrast is characterized by militant strikes and lockouts. Both types of history have a
tendency to perpetuate themselves. But a perpetuating tendency does not mean that a history of
conflict cannot be overcome or that a history of harmony cannot explode into violence


Economic satisfaction of workers

Human needs have a certain priority. Need number one is the basic need for survival. Man
workers because he wants to survive. Hence the economic satisfaction of workers is another
important contributor to good industrial relations.


Social and psychological satisfaction

Identifying the social and psychological urges of workers is an important step in the direction of
building good industrial relations. Man has several other needs besides his physical needs which
should also be given due attention by the employer.

The supportive climate of an organisation is essentially built around social and psychological
rewards. Workers participation in management, job enrichment, suggestion schemes, redressal
of grievances, effective two-way communication are same such social and psychological


Off-the-job conditions

Although some employers may occasionally wish that they could employee only a persons skill
or brain, they in fact end up employing a whole person. His home life is not totally separable
from his work life, and his emotional condition is not different from his physical condition.
Hence for good industrial relations, it is not enough that the workers factory life alone should be
taken care of. His off-the-job conditions should be improved.


Enlightened Labor Unions

The most important single condition necessary for good industrial relations is a strong and
enlightened labor movement, which may help to promote the status of labor without
jeopardizing the interests of management. Investigations show unions though talk much of the
employers obligations to the workers, say very little about the workers responsibility to the
employer. Many enlightened unions usually do focus on employee contribution and
responsibility and they have gained both social and economic rewards by this approach. Such
unions exhort workers to produce more, persuade management to pay more, mobilize public
opinion on vital labor issues and help government to enact progressive labor laws.


Negotiating Skills and Attitudes of Management and Workers

Well trained and experienced negotiators who are motivated by a desire for industrial peace
create a bargaining atmosphere conducive to the writing of a just and equitable collective
agreement. On the other hand, ignorant, inexperienced, and ill-trained persons fail because they

do not recognize that collective bargaining is a difficult human activity that requires careful


Public Policy and Legislation

When government regulates employee relation, it becomes a third major force determining
industrial relations the fist two being the employer and the union. Governments intervene in
management union relationships by enforcing labor laws and by insisting that the goals of the
whole society take precedence over those of either of the parties. Governments intervene in a
number of ways:

It helps in catching and solving problems before they become serious

It provides a formalized means to the workers and employers to give emotional release
to their dissatisfaction


It acts as a check and balance upon arbitrary management action

Better Education

Industrial workers in developing countries are generally illiterate and are misled by outside
trade union leaders who have their own axe to grind. Better workers education can be a
solution to this problem.


Nature of Industry and Business Cycle

Industrial relations are good when there is boom and prosperity all around. During such periods
levels of employment and wages rise, which make workers happy. But during recession, there is
a decline in employment levels and wages. This makes workers unhappy and mars good
industrial relations.

Causes of Poor IR


Economic causes - Much as the employer or organization may want employees to exercise
in the professional set-up, economic hindrances may prevent this thus culminating in poor
IR. Some of these economic causes of poor IR may include late payment of salaries. When
salaries are paid 2 3 months later than anticipated, IR will be poor thereby leading to
protests and non-performance. Additionally when career avenues are retrogressed, IR

suffers. The lack of providing promotion avenues also contributes to the deterioration of

Social causes - Poor IR may be brought about by lack of motivation. When employees are
not sufficiently motivated among other aspects of non-pecuniary activities, IR suffers a
drawback. Employees directly influence the organization as their families. An employees
performance could be affected by the state of his/her family hence the importance for the
organization to cater for social interest of the employee.

iii. Political causes - More often than not, politics takes centre stage in almost every aspect of
life. The organization is certainly no exception. Interference of the state in business will
lead to deterioration of IR. It is bound to trigger rivalry and create groupings which may
result in favoritism, tribalism and non performance. IR will be negatively affected this way.
iv. Organizational causes - Flaws in corporate working lead to misunderstandings thereby
bringing about poor IR for instance, when communication is flawed and non-procedural,
when the organization follows dubious procedures, violates trade agreements etc. in
addition, when automation policies are implemented without consultation and safety and
health issues ignored, IR will definitely be poor. The organization can thus initiate poor IR
advertently or inadvertently.

Psychological causes - When an employee does not have security of tenure,

psychologically, he/she becomes unsettled which may lead to poor IR. When the employee
does not feel any sense of belonging to the organization and therefore loyalty becomes
questionable, poor IR results. Psychological factors thus play a role in diminishing IR.


As earlier indicated, the period between 1958 and 1961 saw a lot of agitation, upheavals and
strikes in the labor movement in Kenya, although there was confusion between agitation for
political independence and labor matters.

The above confusion led the colonial government to formulate a document in 1962 to insulate
industrial agitation from political agitation. This document was the Industrial Relation Charter.
It became the mother of industrial relations in Kenya. The charter was revised in 1980.

The charter defines the social contract between the three parties involved in Industrial Relations
the Government of Kenya, the employees and the employers. The charter made provisions for

the RECOGNITION AGREEMENT, which forms the basis of the collective bargaining system.
The three parties started TRIPARTITE.

General Clauses of the Charter

To affirm the faith of the three parties to democratic principles on labour matters i.e.
differences should be solved through mutual negotiations, conditions and arbitrations.

In case of strikes or lockouts parties agreed to be bound by: - mutual agreements and the
law i.e. the Trade Dispute Act

The three parties agreed to abide by and co-operate in implementing the Collective
Bargaining Agreements (CBAs)

They undertook to observe the grievance procedure contained in the Recognition


The government to educate labor officers, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) to

educate employers, and COTU to educate employees on the importance of good
Industrial Relations

The three parties agreed to form the National Consultative Council to advice the
Minister for labor on all general Industrial Relations Matters.

The NCC was to form a demarcation committee to determine areas of jurisdiction in the
event of conflict by Trade Unions

Each party was to respect one anothers Freedom of Association.

Parities agreed to act expediently in replying to correspondence from another party.

The charter established a Tripartite Consultative Council to advice the minister on

matters affecting the economy in general and employment in particular

The charter excluded the following groups of workers from participation in Union
matters: -

Staff who formulate, control or administer any aspect of organization policy

Staff who perform work that is of confidential nature

These are; the government (Ministry of Labor), COTU (for all employees in unions) and FKE
(for employers)


Responsibilities include:

Ensure speedy settlement of disputes and a return to work formula

Have joint consultations with COTU and FKE on matters of employee policy and

Promote Industrial Trade Unionism as opposed to Craft Trade Unionism

Ensure no overlaps among registered unions through clear definition of each Union

To display the charter in the offices and ensure that officers comply with it.

Individuals or groups of employers undertook:

Accord recognition to unions as the negotiating bodies, by signing the recognition


Not to be involved in the right to registration of a union

Not to discriminate, malign or coerce any employee because of his union activities

To recognize the ILO Convention No. 98 the right to bargain collectively and to
organize/associate freely.

To take action to settle grievances that may arise in the organization

To implement all decisions in the CBA

Not to be irrational be able to distinguish between acts that require dismissal and those
that require other less severe disciplinary action

To avail time and opportunity of ordinary workers to reach employer/management on

personal maters

To let managers and workers know about the charter and give the document publicity.

COTU (for employees)

The union under took to:

Discourage breach of peace or civil commotion by Union Members

Ensure the union representatives do not encourage or cause members to engage in union
activities during working hours

Discourage members from neglect of duty, destruction of property, use of abusive

language and disturbance of normal work

Make the charter known to members and give it publicity

Promote a high degree of union membership so that CBA covers a majority of workers.


This is a document, which defines the relationship between employers and employee, and gives
rights and privileges to each party. The signing of this document leads to Collective Bargaining
Agreements (CBAs)

The document is in recognition of ILO convention number 111, which provides guidance to
social policy on employment. This ILO document calls for:

All parties to avoid discrimination based on race, gender etc

All parties agree to end strikes/ lockouts as a means to settle disputes

Employees no to intimidate employers

No press statements to be issued before an issue is settled

Managers should no be intimidated by union in performance of their work

No closed shop trade unionism-where workers are forced to become members of a

particular union

Hit lists are prohibited and work council recognized

Subsidiaries of multi-nationals to be bound by regulations of the local country.

Components of a Recognition Agreement

Recognition Agreement must define confidential staff those handling confidential

corporate matters

After elections unions must notify employers of the elected officials at National and
Branch levels and accord these officials proper credentials

Employers are bound to negotiate only with accredited union officials

Recognition Agreements must state that no employee will be forced to join a particular
union and neither should the employer punish employees for joining a union.

Employers will reserve the right to manage in certain matters

Union activities must be conducted outside working hours unless with permission from
the employer

Topic 2: Industrial relations stake holders.

Parties to Industrial relations.

Types of Industrial relationships.

Parties to Industrial Relations

The following diagram provides a birds eye view of the stakeholders of IR.


Trade Unions





Types of Industrial Relations and IR Players


Labor-management relations - entails the association between the top echelons of the
organization and workers union. It is hence also referred to as labor relations.


Employer-employee relations - epitomizes the association between the management of a

firm and its employees. It does not therefore involve the trade union per se. Employer
employee relations are otherwise referred to as dyadic relationships.

iii. Group relations - refers to the relationship between the various groups of workmen. They
may be subordinates, operatives, foremen, supervisors, technical personnel etc.
iv. Community relations - involves the relationship between the firm and the outside world.
It is otherwise termed as public relations. In other words, it includes the relationship
between the company and society.

Employers association - is composed of various employers who may be involved in the

manufacturing sector, service sector or otherwise. Its coming into being is basically to
cater for members i.e. employers. It is particularly timely when employers are bargaining
or seeking to have their queries and issues of concern resolved with and by the government.
As such it may entail dwelling upon tax payable, membership to international bodies and
the like.

vi. Ombudsman - This is an arbitrator. When parties to IR have a contentious issue that
requires attention, an impartial party may be called in to assist in coming up with an
amicable agreement. This party is referred to as ombudsman.
vii. Government - It acts as a regulator. Licenses, rules, laws and policies are formulated and
implemented by it. It seeks to ensure prosperity.

Topic 3: Framework for Industrial relations in Kenya.

Labour relations matters in Kenya regulated by three bodies. These are the Central Organization
of Trade Unions of Kenya, which represents the interests of workers through trade unions; the
Federation of Kenya Employers, which is the apex bodies of employers and the Industrial Court
which assists in settling disputes.

Central Organization Of Trade Unions Of Kenya (COTU)

All trade unions in Kenya except Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) are affiliated to

The objectives of (COTU (K)) are to:

1) Improve the economic and social conditions of all workers in all parts of Kenya and to
render to them assistance whether or not such workers are employed or have ceased to
be employed.
2) Assist in the complete organization of all workers in the trade union movement
3) Organize the structure and spheres of influence and amalgamation of trade unions
affiliated to COTU
4) Assist in settling disputes between members of trade unions and their employers or
between trade unions and their members or the employees of one union and the
employees of another union or between two or more trade unions
5) Encourage the principle of the development and maintenance of good relations between
employees and employers
6) Form area offices of COTU in any specified geographical areas of Kenya where there
are braches of registered trade unions
7) Secure adequate representation on government boards and committees dealing with
labour legislation on matters affecting workers

8) Establish and maintain funds by means of membership fees monthly contribution

donations subscriptions levis and by borrowing on such securities and terms as may
from time to time be arranged by the executive amount as may be determined by the
minister for labour

Set up appropriate committee to provide training education and other facilities and enterprise
for the advancement of workers and the labour movement

The functions of COTU follow from its objectives. The reader is cautioned not toe confuse
objectives and functions though they may appear to be similar. The major functions of COTU

1. Maintaining and advancing the terms and conditions of employment as well as

improving the physical working conditions of all workers in all parts of Kenya.
2. Safeguarding and increasing employment opportunities
3. Conducting industrial disputes and raising and disbursing funds, in this connection, it
assists in settling disputes between members of trade unions and their members or
employees of one union and employees if another union or between two or more trade
4. Settling up appropriate committees to provide benefits and welfare activities such as
education, training, legal aid and sickness benefits;
5. Increasing workers participation in the control of industry
6. Organizing the structure and spheres of influence and amalgamation of trade unions
affiliated to COTU;
7. Maintaining adequate representation on government boards and committees dealing with
labour legislation on matters affecting workers;
8. Assisting the complete organization of all workers in trade union movement
9. Serving as agencies for the purpose of commenting on economic, social and political


To clearly understand the organizational structure of COTU, we will need to look at its
organization chart (Fig. 15.1.)




















Garages and Motor repair shops, tyre retreadres,

Amalgamated Union of Kenya electrical and electronic equipment assemblers

Metal Workers

including radio and television repair shops and

motor assemblers.

Cargo Handling



Construction, Civil Engineering Building








Workers Engineering Industries

Manufacturers and converters of basic industrial
chemicals, including fertilizers, salts, plastics,

Kenya Chemical Workers Union rubber, perfumes, insecticides, paints, glasses,

cement, pottery, china earth ware, plaster
products and asbestos.



Workers General Engineering and allied industries; metal


converting, smelting, refining, and rolling mills.



Workers Union

Kenya Airline Pilots Association Airlines

Kenya Electrical

Local Authorities

Trade and

Allied Workers Union

Electrical and related industries

Kenya Bakers and Confectioners


Workers Union

Bakeries and Confectioneries

Kenya Game Hunting and Safari


Workers Union

Game reserves, Safari parks and national parks




Workers Union




Mining and quarrying industries



of Fishing and related industries






Workers union

Shoes and leather manufacturers


Kenya Jockey Workers Union

Horse racing and related activities



and Plantations

Agricultural Workers Union







growers and millers







Oil distributors, aviation oil filers, petroleum oil

Workers Union

exploration, drilling, processing, marketing and

oil pipeline






Plantation Workers

Sugar growers and millers


Kenya Union of Commercial, Food processing, commercial and distribution

Food and Allied Workers




Kenya Union of Entertainment Music Industry, record manufacturers and

and Industry Employees


Kenya Union of Journalists









Printing, Printing establishments, paper pulp and board

publishing paper manufactures makers

and allied workers

National Seamens Union of Ship crews engaged in Kenya



Railway Workers Union


Tailors and Textiles Workers Textiles, tailoring and garment manufacturing


Kenya Railways





Domestic, Hotel and Catering establishments bars, and

Hotels, Educational institutions, domestic servants, educational institutions and

Hospitals and Allied Workers

schools, harambee institutes of technology,

village polytechnics, night clubs, churches,
private hospitals and charitable organizations





and Postal, internal and external telecommunication

Telecommunication Employees services


Union of Scientific, Research, Scientific, Research and its total labour force



Employees (K)

Transport and Allied Workers Transport





operators including aircraft, bus companies and

tour operators


Banking Insurance and Finance Banks, Insurance and other financial institutions
The above is a list of trade unions affiliated to COTU and the type of industry they

Federation Of Kenya Employers (FKE)

The Federation was formed as a central body of employers in 1959. It is registered
under the Trade Unions Act (Cap 233) of the Laws of Kenya. It is the apex body of
employers in Kenya.

Its principal objects are to:

a) Promote good industrial relations between employers and their employees through
their trade unions;
b) Encourage fair labour practices among the employers;
c) Provide forum for consultation between and among members;

d) Collect, collate and circulate information and statistics and advise members on
their rights and obligations on employment matters
e) Initiate, promote and support legislative measures which are likely to benefit
employers or to promote their interests;
f) Represent, advocate and defend the interest of employers generally.

Unions mainly depend on membership participation and they must of necessity
include service. FKE membership is open to all employers in both public and private
sectors upon payment of membership fee, an annual subscription and a building levy.
Both the annual subscription and the building levy are based on the number of
employees engaged by the employer.

FKE is a member of ILO, International

Organization of Employees (IOE) and Pan-African Employers Confederation


There are four main categories of membership for the purposes of

negotiations. There are several rates for trade associations, religious and charitable

Membership is not constant since new members join, others withdraw while others
may be expelled. The four categories of membership are:

Individual Firms and Companies. These are the business organizations which prefer to
negotiate or deal with the trade unions directly. They may or may not have common
industrial or trade interests with other business organizations.

Groups of Companies or Firms. These are individuals member companies or firms,

which are voluntarily grouped together for the purpose of negotiations with their
commonly recognized trade union. They are organizations with similar industrial or
trade interests.

Employer Associations. These are associations registered under the laws as employer
associations but they are affiliated to FKE for purposes of industrial relations. They

have their own constitutions and rules. Some of them receive secretarial services from
FKE and some provide their own secretarial and administrative services.

Statutory Boards. These include parastatal bodies. They negotiate or deal with trade
unions in the same way as any private company and they participate fully in the
affairs of FKE.

The structure of FKE

The Management Board comprises of thirty members, who represent the broad
industrial and geographical interests of the membership. The Management Board
controls the business and affairs of FKE. The board may delegate its powers as it
may see it fit to the Executive Committee which consists of the Chairman, two
Deputy Chairmen, three Vice-Chairmen, the immediate Past Chairmen and not more
than twenty-four members elected annually by members in addition to co-opted
members. The day to day running of FKE business and affairs is the responsibility of
the Executive Director who is also the Secretary to both Management Board and
Executive Committee

Functions of FKE
FKE is the only representative of employers recognized by the Government. Its
functions are:
1. Representation on Tripartite and other Boards. FKE is recognized by the
Government as the employers representative outside the civil service. FKE serves
and represents the interests of employers on the following tripartite boards:

a) The General Wages Advisory Board and other sectoral Wage Councils
b) The National Social Security Fund Advisory Board
c) The National Industrial Training Council and its various committees
d) The Tripartite Committee dealing with Trade Disputes

2. Secretarial services. FKE acts as secretariat to a number of trade associations.

3. Consultancy Services. FKEs Executive staff assist members in negotiations with
their trade unions by providing up-to-date data acting as their spokesman or by
agreement as chairman of joint negotiating committee; drafting collective
bargaining agreements and following them up for registration by the Industrial
Court. They also assist members at conciliation meetings, prepare memoranda in
respect of trade disputes and represent them in the Industrial Court.

4. Training. FKE offers training to the staff members and the executives of its
members organizations. This is in line with their belief that training of personnel
is necessary for the promotion of productivity and good industrial relations.

5. Industrial Stability. FKE is one of the social signatories to the Industrial Relations
Charter which is a social contract between the social partners government,
employers and workers.

It spells out the rights and responsibilities of the

signatories in the management of industrial relations in Kenya.

6. Creation of Employment. FKE has been associated with the tripartite agreements
for temporary relief of unemployment.
7. Dissemination of Information. One of FKEs major functions is to keep its
members well informed of the developments in matters relating to employment,
like changes in labour laws, and the policy decisions which are of interest to them.


The Industrial Court is probably the most important feature of labour relations in
Kenya. The Industrial Court was established under the Trade Disputes Act (Cap 234)
of Laws of Kenya. Until January, 1989, the Court had only one judge, assisted by
members of the Court, however another position for the second judge was created so
as to ease the workload of the court.

The main objective was and still is the settlement of trade disputes which are referred
to it by either parties (employer and employees) or the Minister for Labour when all
other procedures have failed. The Court is empowered to make award (s) to the
aggrieved party of parties. The award is final and there is no provision for appeal; the
decisions are binding.
When making decisions, the Court takes into consideration the national economic
conditions, the financial position of the employers and the existing collective
bargaining agreement.

Presentation of a case to the Court involves the employer represented by the FKE, the
employee(s) represented by a union and the Industrial Court Judge presiding and
assisted by members of the Court. The procedures are different from those found in
the Courts of Law, although order must be maintained. Some of the matters settled
through the Court are wrongful dismissal which leads to reinstatement (not all the
time), salary/wage disputes, redundancy and any other disputes unresolved by
voluntary negotiating machinery so long as they are within the existing CBA. In this
respect, the Industrial Court acts as a bridge between the employer and employees in
settling disputes and ensuring that industrial peace prevails in the county.

Tripartite Committee - means a committee consisting of a representative of the

Minister, who shall be the chairman, and two other members appointed by the
Minister, one from a panel of persons nominated by or on behalf of organizations of
employers, and the other from a panel of persons nominated by or on behalf of
organizations of employees.

Establishment of Industrial Court

The first industrial court was established in June 1964 by virtue of Trade Disputes Act
of 1964 was later repeated on June 8th 1965. Section 14 of Trade Disputes Act gives
powers to the President to establish an Industrial Court: Today we have two industrial
courts in Kenya:

The first court was filled with disputes which was making them to take long. This
called for an establishment of a second court.

Functions of I.C.

The I.C. adjudicates in Trade Disputes which have complex questions and issues
of economic social & political nature.

Trade dispute is a dispute or a difference between employers and employees,

employees & employees.

The dispute must be connected with employment or no employment.

It may also be concerned with conditions of employment.


- The court consists of 2 judges of the High court appointed by the President
of the Republic of Kenya for a term of not less than 5 yrs.
- The qualifications of the persons appointed are the same as those of High
Court Judges and has also been an advocate of a high court for not less than 7



- There are 8 members of IC appointed by the Minister of Labour after

consultation with FKE and COTU.
- Appointments is for a term of not less than 3 years.
- One of the members is the Deputy appointed to the Judge by the Minister for
- Where expedient (useful) the Judge may appoint two accessors one
representing the employers and the other representing employees.
- Where members are unable to agree as to the award or decision in any
matter, the matter is decided by the Judge of the Court acting with full powers
of the Umpire.

The award is final and there is no provision for appeal the decision is

When making decisions, the court takes into consideration the national
economic conditions, the financial position of the employees and the existing
collective bargaining agreements

Presentation of the case to the court involves the employer represented by the
FKE, the employees represented by a union and the industrial court judge
presiding and assisted by the other members of a court.

The judges and other members are eligible to re-appointment.

The appointments are notified in Kenya Gazette which also states terms for
which such appointments are made

The IC is not part of Kenya Judiciary Court. It is a special court created under
the T.D Act and is entirely from the vote of the minister for labour

The decisions taken by the industrial court are not necessarily based on legal
arguments and technicalities alone. They go beyond the legal rights of the
parties and stretch deeply into the spheres of economic, social human relations
and political necessities which keep changing.

The success and the ad justification of the courts lies in the fact that it is not
too regulastic in awards of decisions.

Although the court is financed by the Ministry of labour it is very independent

hence is under no influence whatsoever either of the Ministers for labour or

any other development except to the extend that the court has to take into
consideration wages guidelines issued by the Minister for Finance.

The Judges are of the same status as High Court Judges.

Industrial Court Procedures

i) Industrial court procedures are made by Chief of Justice of Kenya for the purposes
of regulating the procedures of Industrial Court.

The court may regulate its own procedures if it thinks fit on other matters
which may not be covered by rules.

One does not have to be a lawyer to be submitted in this court ie you must be
accredited by your employer or Trade Unions.

ii) The Industrial court operates more or less like any other court with all the
formalities. But it has its own rules which may be stipulated in Legal Notice No.
186 of 1965. However, it should be noted that it has deliberately left out the
swearing on oath practice in order to create a relatively relaxed atmosphere in the
court room.

iii) The disputes referred to the Industrial court must be either through voluntary
signing of Form A by the parties to the dispute or by the Ministers order under
section 8 of the Trade Disputes Act.

The court cannot however register any case unless there is a certificate from
the labour commissioner under Form `G and Form `H signed by the Minister
to the effect that the dispute had been reported to the Minister and that the
voluntary settlement machinery had been exhausted.

The rules also provide for the parties to make written submissions.

The court also has powers to sermon witness to appear before it and give
evidence on both or to furnish in writing such particulars as it may require and
produce any relevant documents.

At its discretion the court may admit evidence of affidavit (written statement).
The rules also allow lay down procedures where is a party wishes to appeal to
the IC or against a Ministers decision.

There are rules also covering the interpretation of applications and the
rectification of the clerical mistakes including errors of omissions.

iv) The proceedings to the court are governed by the rules of the court and in
conclusion, the court would give its judgement by way of awards to either of the

In cases of dismissal of an employee, the court can award reinstatement or

compensation for wrongful loss of employment to the extent of maximum of
12 months wages. The court awards are final and cannot be challenged inany
other court. There is no appeal failing to comply with court order regarding
reinstatement is an offence and subject to a fine of 10,000/= for every month
one fails to implement the order.

v) Finally, the industrial court has the responsibility to consider and register all the
collective agreement entered into by the unions and employers and similarly, the
objective is to ensure that the wages agreed must be in line with the wage

Any collective agreement which has not been registered with the court is
illegal and its implementation is an offence and subject to a fine not exceeding

Pre-Industrial Court Procedures


Parties are required first to result to their own voluntary laid down machinery
for solving disputes.

In all recognition agreement as in disputes from collective agreement and an

elaborate procedure be specified to deal with collective claims and grievance
procedures for individual complaints.

The highest forum at the parties own level is usually the central negotiations
council or the Joint Industrial council.

If a deadlock is recorded at this level, then either party is free to report the
existence of a trade dispute to the Minister for labour.

In order to forestall any industrial action either party may report an existing or
apprehended trade disputes to the Minister for Labour. This is more so
especially on essential services such as the Docks, Banks, Fire & Ambulance
services and teaching.

These services are too essential and that is why the Minister is too keen to stop
strikes in these areas.

Why workers prefer industrial court as opposed to other courts?

i) Consideration taken into account by the industrial court are much wicker than
mere legal arguments.
ii) The court puts into consideration aspects of industrial relation practices.
iii) The court is not too legalistic although legal arguments are also given weight
and considerations.
iv) The court does not allow legal technicalities to defeat end of Justice.
v) Parties do not have to pay any court costs or litigation fee.
vi) The intention of the court is that no impediments should be placed in the way
of parties in bringing their cases to the industrial court.
vii) Costs would be an obstacle if introduced and there being no court fees, hence
the issue of paying cost to parties when one has lost does not arise.

The IC resolve is final and legally binding and any violation against

sanctions of the IC is incriminating.

ix) The IC considers the bounds of fairness and justice by considering the rights
of both partners involved in a dispute.
x) The award compensation enhances good relations.
Enforcement of awards or court decisions

In disputes over collective agreement the award of the court becomes effective
from the date it is made. If an employer fails to implement (comply with) an
industrial court award, workers action will not be declared unlawful by

For every time you fail to implement courts decision there is a fine of
10,000/= per month or part of the month.


Once the disputes has been accepted by court, parties appear before the Judge
for the mention of the dispute.

The first appearance is just a mention, then they are given time to put their
submissions in support of a case.

Claimants who are usually Trade Unions are given the final chance then the
respondents usually management provide answers.

When the court makes awards on salaries it ensures that the rewards do not
militate against creation of employment.

The court therefore has a very difficult task that calls for people of great
integrity and high moral standards. Thus magistrates who are likely to be
bribed and make the poor suffer are not required.

The court ensures that workers get a share of their sweat by improving their
standard of living, while shareholders expect to earn reasonable return either
on their capital. Therefore the court has to balance between employees and
the shareholders.

The IC also puts into consideration depreciation of machinery and even

replacement of machines, expansion of enterprise and creation of new jobs.
Hence the courts decisions have to be fair and balanced.

The parties are usually required to comply with the following provisions:
i) Each party (within 7 days) sends a memorandum to court (that is after
a) In the case of workers or trade unions it sets out: the nature and full
particulars of each item of the claim involved; the classes of workers
involved in the dispute (s); such submissions as the claimant party may
wish to make in

support of its claim.

b) In the case of respondent usually management they will: send such

reply as they may wish to give in the item of the claim raised by the
claimants memorandum; an admission of such submission set out in
the claimants parties memorandum as the respondents admit and denial
of any such submission as the respondent party does not admit; any

submissions which the respondent parties may wish to make in support

of its reply i.e. quote authorities which make you take your stand.
ii) Parties are required to submit the names of witnesses they wish to call
during the hearing.
iii) The hearing date is also fixed at the first mention of the dispute.
iv) Parties are required to table all documents which they are going to align on
with written submission (usually in the appendix)
v) The time for parties submission is usually 4 weeks after mention.
vi) Written submissions are delivered through court officials.
vii) The parties may apply to the court for permission to extend the time for
them to give their submissions.


On the hearing date of the dispute the claimants start the hearing by making
their opening submissions both written and verbal.

This is followed by the respondents who again present their opening

submissions written and verbal

Parties emphasize on their strong points in their cases and are expected to
highlight and attack the weak points in each others submission

During the opening submissions and final submissions and infact at all times,
parties should be prepared to answer fully any questions directed to them by
the judge.

The evidence of the witness is given on oath or affirmation

The party calling the witness leads the evidence and the other party then cross
examines the witness with a view of testing his credibility

After cross examination, the party calling the witness may re-examine the
witness to eliminate any confusion that may have been caused during cross

During re-examination, the party is not allowed to introduce any new point to
previously brought up by witness

The final submissions are made by parties after the evidence has been given
by witnesses

Claimants also sum up their cases then followed by respondents. After the
hearing the count reserves its judgment and the award of the court is
announced in due course on notice generally within four weeks after the
hearing has been concluded

Summary of the role of IC in industrial relations

a) It accepts the collective agreements for registration for it to be legally
recognized and implemented
b) It determines and verifies the desirability and legality of collective agreements
before theyre implemented. This is done through amendments and further
negotiating between the concerned parties
c) It plays a big role in the settlement of trade disputes and matters relating
d) Whereupon there an award to be made after the settlements of a trade dispute
this is in domain of the industrial court
e) When theres need the industrial court can also investigate matters related to
trade disputes with the purpose of gathering relevant evidence

Topic 5: Collective Bargaining.

Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and a group of
employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions. The interests of
the employees are commonly presented by representatives of a trade union to which the
employees belong. The collective agreements reached by these negotiations usually set out
wage scales, working hours, training, health and safety, overtime, grievance mechanisms, and
rights to participate in workplace or company affairs
The union may negotiate with a single employer (who is typically representing a company's
shareholders) or may negotiate with a group of businesses, depending on the country, to reach
an industry wide agreement. A collective agreement functions as a labor contract between an
employer and one or more unions. Collective bargaining consists of the process of
negotiation between representatives of a union and employers (generally represented by
management, in some countries by an employers' organization) in respect of the terms and
conditions of employment of employees, such as wages, hours of work, working conditions,
grievance-procedures, and about the rights and responsibilities of trade unions. The parties
often refer to the result of the negotiation as a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or as a
collective employment agreement (CEA).
a) Bargaining A bargain is an agreement and it takes at least two parties to make a bargain
b) Collective bargaining - Are those set up agreements between managements, employers
associations, or joint employer negotiating bodies and trade unions to determine specified
term and conditions of employment for groups of employees. The process of collective
bargaining occurs only when a trade union is involved. Hence the term only applies to
relations between the employees (trade union) and the employers. It is a long lasting
process because once it is negotiated it is reviewed from time to time as conditions may

The Nature of collective Bargaining


The nature of collective bargaining is that workers do not negotiate individually and on
their own but do so collectively through trade union representatives (officials)

It therefore only takes place where there is a trade union recognized by management

Once there is a union recognized by management, cannot deal with workers on an

individual basis.

Collective bargaining agreements should aim to provide the basis for maintaining a good
employee relations climate and harmonious relationships with trade unions and
employees generally.

Collective bargaining agreements however, can only function where there is:
i) Willingness by the workers and their trade union officials to be involved.
ii) The power to force the employer to accept negotiations
iii) Willingness by management to accept that decisions affecting workers must be agreed
on between the two parties before they are implemented.

On top of the above, collective bargaining entirely depends on the political climate.

In Kenya collective bargaining has been trilateral for example wage fixing to satisfy the
objectives of management, the union and the government.

This is contrary to what is in an ideal democracy should be happening where we have


If collective bargaining has to be fully effective, a favorable political climate must exist.
The particular government of the day must be convinced of the collective bargainings
positive contribution to industrial peace.

If such an attitude of government exists, it will do everything to facilitate the bargaining

process like providing machinery for the settlement of grievances and disputes through
mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

Collective Bargaining Agreement contents


A collective bargaining results into a labor contract, which is written agreement between
the trade union and management.

The contract specifies rules and procedures to be followed by both parties during the
contract period.

The contract may have some of its contents are:


Name of the parties (the employer and trade union) duration to be covered by the
agreement, provision for its renewal and signatures of the parties officials.

Wage rates and fringe benefits, job classifications and overtime.

working conditions like permissible breaks, severance pay, timing and

Working shifts.

Union security, like check-off procedures and recruitment of union members.

Job security, termination, promotion, demotion and transfers.

Limitation of strikes, lockouts and picketing.

Grievance and dispute procedures.

managements rights

Importance Of Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining includes not only negotiations between the employers and
unions but also includes the process of resolving labor-management conflicts. Thus,
collective bargaining is, essentially, a recognized way of creating a system of
industrial jurisprudence. It acts as a method of introducing civil rights in the industry,
that is, the management should be conducted by rules rather than arbitrary decision
making. It establishes rules which define and restrict the traditional authority




Importance to employees

the employees.

It increases the strength of the workforce, thereby, increasing their bargaining

capacity as a group.

Collective bargaining increases the morale and productivity of employees.

It restricts managements freedom for arbitrary action against the employees.

Moreover, unilateral actions by the employer are also discouraged.

Effective collective bargaining machinery strengthens the trade unions


The workers feel motivated as they can approach the management on various
matters and bargain for higher benefits.

It helps in securing a prompt and fair settlement of grievances. It provides a

flexible means for the adjustment of wages and employment conditions to
economic and technological changes in the industry, as a result of which the
chances for conflicts are reduced.

Importance to employers
1. It becomes easier for the management to resolve issues at the bargaining level
rather than taking up complaints of individual workers.
2. Collective bargaining tends to promote a sense of job security among
employees and thereby tends to reduce the cost of labor turnover to
3. Collective bargaining opens up the channel of communication between the
workers and the management and increases worker participation in decision
4. Collective bargaining plays a vital role in settling and preventing industrial
Importance to society
1. Collective bargaining leads to industrial peace in the country
2. It results in establishment of a harmonious industrial climate which supports
which helps the pace of a nations efforts towards economic and social
development since the obstacles to such a development can be reduced
3. The discrimination and exploitation of workers is constantly being checked.
4. It provides a method or the regulation of the conditions of employment of those
who are directly concerned about them.


1. Pluralism and the Freedom of Association
2. Trade Union Recognition
3. Observance of Agreements
4. Support of Labor Administration Authorities
5. Good Faith
6. Proper Internal Communication


1. Distributive Bargaining It occurs when labor and management are in conflict on an issue
and when the outcome is a win-lose situation.
2. Integrative Bargaining Its for win-win or mutual gains bargaining.
3. Concession/Cooperative Bargaining Something of importance is given back to
management. 4. Conjunctive Bargaining Situations where both parties agree to terms as a
result of the bargaining.

Topic 5 : The Industrial Court.

The establishment of the Industrial Court.
The industrial Court procedures.

Topic 6: Grievance and dispute settling Machinery.

Causes of grievances.
Causes of grievances.
Grievance procedures.
Benefits of a grievance system.
Industrial disputes.
Labour relations involve more than negotiating a labour agreement. In fact, the real test of
effective labour relations begins after agreement is signed. The acid test is found in the dayto-day administration of the agreement. It has been said that management usually gives away
more in the administration of an agreement than in the negotiation of the agreement.
Similarly, unions may feel that they sometimes lose in application of what they thought they
had gained at the bargaining table. Hence, the administration of a collective bargaining
agreement is a matter of substantial concern to both management and labour because it is
here that a number of grievances arise which need to be resolved every day.


A grievance is an alleged violation of the rights of workers on the job. It may occur in one
of several forms:

As a violation of the collective bargaining agreement

As a violation of Central or State laws

As a violation of past practice

As a violation of company rules

As a violation of managements responsibility.

According to Michael .J. Jucuis, the term grievance means any discontent or
dissatisfaction whether expressed or not and whether valid or not, arising out of anything
connected with the company that an employee thinks, believes or even feels, is unfair, unjust
or inequitable this definition is very broad and covers dissatisfactions which have the
following characteristics:

The discontent must arise out of something connected with the company. Workers may be
dissatisfied because of several reasons, e.g., illness in the family, quarrel with a neighbour,
disliking for the political party in power, and so on. Such outside sources are beyond the
control of the company and, therefore, do not constitute a grievance.

The discontent may be expressed or implied. Expressed grievances are comparatively easy to
recognize and are manifested in several ways, e.g., gossiping, jealousy, active criticism,
argumentation, increased labour turnover, carelessness in the use of tools and materials,
untidy housekeeping, poor workmanship, etc.

Unexpressed grievances are indicated by indifference to work, daydreaming, absenteeism,

tardiness, etc. It is not wise to recognize only expressed grievances and overlook the
unexpressed ones. In fact, unexpressed or implied grievances are more dangerous than the
expressed ones because it is not known when they may explode. Hence, the executive should
develop a seventh sense for anticipating grievances. He should be sensitive to eve the weak
and implied signals from the employee.

An employee may casually remark that it is too hot in the room or that he has been assigned a
job that he does not like. All such casual remarks and grumbling are grievances by
implication. Only for a painstaking and observant supervisor is it possible to discover what is
bothering employees before they themselves are aware of grievances. The personnel
department can be helpful by training supervisors to become proficient in observing

employees. The techniques of attitude surveys and statistical interpretations of trends of

turnover, complaints, transfers, suggestions, etc are also helpful in this connection.

The discontent may be valid, legitimate and rational or untrue and irrational or completely
ludicrous. The point is that when a grievance held by an employee comes to the notice of the
management it cannot usually dismiss it as irrational and untrue. Such grievances also have to
be attended to by the management in the same way, as rational grievances. We should know
that a large part of our behaviour is irrational. This may be largely due to our distorted
perception. Emotional grievances which are based upon sentiments (like love, hatred,
resentment, anger, envy, fear, etc), misconceptions and lack of thinking are examples of our
irrational behaviour. These grievances are the most difficult to handle.
One advantage of giving a widest possible meaning to the term grievance is that the
possibility of the manager overlooking any complaints is very much reduced.

Even those discontents, which have not yet assumed great importance for the complainant
and have therefore not moved into formal procedural channels- such as casual remarks or
grumbling technically called complaints, come within the purview of the grievance
handling machinery of the organization and are removed in the course.

Causes of grievances
The causes of grievances may broadly be classified in the following categories;

Grievances resulting from working conditions:

Improper matching of the worker with the job.

Changes in schedules or procedures.

Non-availability of proper tools, machines and equipment for doing the job.

Tight production standards.

Bad physical conditions of workplace

Failure to maintain proper discipline (excessive discipline or lack of it, both are
equally harmful)

Poor relationship with the supervisor.

Grievances resulting from management policy:

Wage payment and job rates.





Promotion, demotion and discharges

Lack of career planning and employee development plan

Lack of role clarity, delegation, etc

Lack of regard for collective agreement

Hostility toward labour union

Grievances resulting from personal maladjustment:


Excessive self-esteem

Impractical attitude to life, etc.

Machinery for Handling Grievances
Every organization has need for a continuing process of conciliation to facilitate settlement of
controversies and to assure an employee with a grievance that his case will be given a
hearing. One of the important jobs of front-line supervisors is to handle problems with
employees right on the spot to mutual satisfaction of workers and management. Inevitably
grievances will arise that cannot be easily settled by the parties immediately concerned at the
outset. The supervisor himself may be the course of the grievance in the workers mind. For
this reason an organization needs a standing procedure or machinery for orderly redressal of
grievances. The machinery makes provision for appeal up the ladder to top-level
management. In situations where union contracts so provide, grievances not otherwise settled
may be sent to arbitration. Morale is boosted by speedy disposition of grievances handled in
conformance with set procedures.

A grievance procedure is a graduated series of steps arranged in a hierarchy of increasing

complexity and involvement. The number of steps in a grievance procedure vary with the
size of organization. A small organization may have only two steps the supervisor and the
manager but a big organization may have as many as ten steps. The first and the last steps
are almost always the same for all organisations. Though a labour union is not essential to the
establishment and operation of a grievance procedure, one is assumed in the schematic
diagram of a four-step grievance procedure, which is shown in the diagram below.

As shown in the diagram, the front-line supervisor is always accorded the first opportunity to
handle grievances. He is the first rung of the ladder. If the concerned is unionized, a
representative of the union may also join him. This step is very necessary to preserve the
authority of the supervisor over his workers. But all grievances cannot be handled by the
supervisor because many of them involve issues or policies, which are beyond limits of the
authority. There may be some grievances, which he may fail to redress and find solution for.
Hence provision is made for a second step in handling grievances. The second step may be
the personnel officer himself or some middle-level line executive. If the concern is unionized,
some higher personnel in the union hierarchy may join him. It should, however, be
remembered that by injecting the personnel officer into the procedure at this step and by
giving him authority to overrule and reserve the decision of the supervisor the fundamental
principle of line and staff relation is violated.

A third step is constituted by the top management to handle grievances involving company
wide issues. In this step the top union representatives join. The redressal of grievance
becomes complex and difficult because by now they acquire political hues and colours. If the
grievance has not been settled by top management and top union leadership then in the fourth
and final step it may be referred to an impartial outside person called an arbitrator. The two
possibilities are that the issue may be temporarily or permanently dropped or the workers
may go on strike.



Top Management


Middle Management

Top Union

Middle level union managers


Front line supervisor

I Step

Union representative

Aggrieved employee

The Open-door Policy

Some managers do not share the view that there should be a formal grievance procedure and
that grievances should go through a graduated series of steps. In their opinion there should be a
general invitation to all employees to informally drop in any time and talk over their
grievances. At first glance, this policy may appear very attractive but it has the following

This policy is workable only in small organisations. In big organizations where management by
exception is practiced; the top management does not have the time to innumerable routine
grievances daily, which is the work of lower-level managers.

Under this policy the front-line supervisor who should be the first man to know about the
grievances of his sub-ordinates is bypassed. This provokes him in two ways:

First, he thinks the man who skipped him is disrespectful. Secondly, he fears that he will incur
his superiors displeasure because this will be interpreted by the superior as his failure to
handle his sub-ordinates.
By following an open-door policy the top management cannot have adequate clues to assess
supervisors skill in handling grievances. It does not know what action, if any; the supervisor
would have taken to resolve a grievance.
Top management is likely to be too unfamiliar with the work situation in which the grievances
developed to be able to correctly evaluate the information that it gets. There may be several
levels of management between the operative employee and the top executive of a company.
Theoretically, each level affords an equal opportunity for distortion, fading and delay of certain
facts on which a complaint may be based.

Though the door of the executives office remains physically open, psychological and social
barriers prevent employees from actually entering it. Some employees hesitate to be singled
out as having a grievance. Others are afraid they will incur their supervisors disfavour.
Sometimes an open-door policy is used to hide the top managements own hesitation to make
contacts with the operatives and the open door is often a sign to conceal closed minds.

The way an open-door can be most effective is for a manager to walk through it and get out
among his people. The open door is for managers to walk through, not employees. The true test
of such a policy is whether the top man behind the door has an open-door attitude and his
employees psychologically free to enter.

Desirable Features of a Grievance Procedure.

A grievance procedure should incorporate the following features:

Conformity with existing legislation. The procedure should be designed to supplement

the existing statutory provisions. Where practicable, the procedure can make use of
such machinery as the law might have already provided for.

Acceptability. The grievance procedure must be accepted by everybody. In order to be

generally acceptable it must ensure (a) a sense of fair-play and justice to the worker, (b)
reasonable exercise of authority to the manager, and (c) adequate participation of the

Simplicity. The procedure should be simple enough to be understood by every

employee. The steps should be as few as possible. Channels for handling grievances
should be carefully developed. Employees must know the authorities to be contacted at
various levels. Information about the procedure can be thoroughly disseminated among
all employees through pictures, charts, diagrams, etc.

Promptness. Speedy settlement of a grievance is the corner stone of a sound personnel

policy. Justice delayed is justice denied. The procedure should aim at rapid disposal of
the grievance. This can be achieved by incorporating the following features in the

As far as possible grievances should be settled at the lowest level.

No matter should ordinarily be taken up at more than two levels, i.e., normally there should be
only one appeal. Different types of grievances may be referred to appropriate authorities. It
may be useful to classify grievances as those arising from personnel relationship and others
arising out of conditions of employment. In the former case, a grievance should be taken up, in
the first instance with the authority in the line management immediately above the officer
against whom the complaint is made. Thereafter, the matter may go to the grievance committee
comprising representatives and management and worker. Other grievances should be taken up,
in the first instance, with the authority designated by the management. Thereafter, a reference
may be made to the grievance committee and finally to the top management. Time limit should
be placed at each step and it should be rigidly followed at each level.

Training. In order to ensure effective working of the grievance procedure it is necessary that
supervisors and the union representatives are given training in grievance handling.

Follow-up/Evaluation. The working of the procedure should be reviewed periodically by the

personnel department and necessary structural changes introduced to make it more effective.

A good grievance procedure attacks problems as they arise; excellent grievance procedure
anticipates them and prevents them from occurring. A manager can know about the simmerings
even before they turn into actual grievances through several means such as opinion surveys,
open door policy, suggestion schemes and exit interviews.

Benefits of Grievance System

It brings human problems into the open so that the management can learn about them and
try corrective action.

It helps in preventing grievances by encouraging management to probe underlying

problems before and correct them. The management catches and solves a problem before it
becomes a grievance.

It provides employees a formalized means of emotional release for their dissatisfactions.

Even if a worker does not use the grievance system

for his own emotional release in a

particular situation, he feels better because he knows the system is there to use if he wants
to do so. It builds within him a sense of emotional security.

It helps in establishing and maintaining a work culture or way of life. As problems one
interpreted in the grievance procedure, the group learns how it is expected to respond to the
policies that have been set up.

It acts as a check upon arbitrary and capricious management action. When a manager
knows that his actions are subject to challenge and review in a grievance he becomes more
careful in taking decisions.

Ensures work progresses on with lesser interruptions.

What is industry?
Industry means any systematic activity carried on by co-operation between an employer and his
workmen (whether such workmen are employed by such employer directly or through any
agency, including a contractor) for production, supply, or distribution of goods or services with
a view to satisfy human wants or wishes whether or not

Any capital has been invested for the purpose of carrying on such activity; or

Such activity is carried on with a motive to make any gain or profit.

Industrial dispute.
An industrial dispute means any dispute or difference between employers and employers or
between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with
the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or with the conditions of
labour, of any person.

Important points which emerge from this definition are:

The use of the adjective industrial in the term industrial dispute relates the dispute
to an industry.

Only specific types of disputes, i.e., those which bear upon the relationship of
employers and workers and the terms of employment and conditions of labour are

included under the term. Thus, disputes between government and an industrial
establishment or between workmen and non-workmen are not industrial disputes.

The use of plural number for the disputant parties in the definition raises doubt on
whether there can be an industrial dispute between an employer and an individual
workman. An individual dispute is considered an industrial dispute only if it relates to
discharge, dismissal, retrenchment or termination of a workers services.

Disputes arise from a variety of causes including wages and allowances, bonuses,
redundancies, leave and hours of work, indiscipline and violence etc. The most common cause
of all industrial disputes has been wages and allowances followed by personnel matters and

Forms of Disputes
Strikes and lockouts are the most common forms of organized protests followed by the workers
and employers against each other. Both these forms produce highly disquieting effects on the
economic life of the country. They leave behind a lot of privation for the workers, reduction in
output and profits for industries, high prices and inconvenience for the general public and an
atmosphere of mutual distrust and suspicion for the workers and the employers. The nation as a
whole suffers in as much as the national dividend gets reduced owing to reduced production.
Strike means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in
combination, or a concerted refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons
who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment
Thus, the essential ingredients of a strike are:
There should be an industry in which the striking persons should be employed.
There should be stoppage of work in pursuance to a concerted plan in combination. Where the
workers absent together from the work-place not to stop work but to participate in a

demonstration which may incidentally result in the stoppage of work it is not a strike because it
is not in pursuance to a concerted plan.

There should be a contract of employment between the striking workmen and the industry.
Thus when the workmen refuse to do additional work which the employer in law has no right to
ask them to do it would not amount to strike. It should be remembered that the duration of the
cessation of work is absolutely irrelevant for the purpose of determining whether a particular
cessation amounts to strike or not.

The cessation of work need not necessarily be connected with an industrial dispute to amount
to a strike. For this reason, sympathetic strikes, protest strikes, etc are strikes within the
meaning of the term.

Forms of Strikes.
Cessation of work may take place in a number of ways as described below:

Stay-in-strike, sit-down strike, pen-down strike or tool-down strike. All these forms of strike
are considered by courts as an invasion on the rights of employer and therefore illegal. Sitdown or stay-in strike amounts to trespass upon the property of the employer.

Go-slow. Slowing down the pace of production is one of the most pernicious practices that
discontented workmen sometime resort to. It would not be far wrong to call this dishonest. For,
while thus delaying production and thereby reducing the output, the workmen claim to have
remained employed and thus to be entitled to full wages. Apart form this also, go-slow is
likely to be much more harmful than total cessation of work by strike. For, while during a strike
much of the machinery can be fully turned off, during the go-slow, the machinery is kept
going on a reduced speed which is often extremely damaging to machinery parts. For all these
reasons go-slow has always been considered a serious type of misconduct. But it is not a
strike because at no time is the work stopped in this form.

Hunger strike. Hunger strike is a strike with fasting with some or all strikers or even outsiders
for acceptance of the demands.

Lightning or wildcat strike. A wildcat strike is an unofficial strike, i.e., strike not sanctioned by
the union. Such strikes occasionally occur in violation of no-strike pledge in collective
bargaining agreements. In such a situation the union is obligated to use its best efforts to end
the strike. Such strikes are prohibited in public utility services.
Lock out. Lock out is the temporary closing of a place of employment or the suspension of
work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by
him. Lock out, thus, is the counterpart of strike-the corresponding weapon in the hands of the
employer to resist the collective demands of workmen or to enforce his terms.
Strikes and lock-outs and the threat of strikes and lock-outs are said to be necessary to make the
collective bargaining process work. The pressure of strikes and lock-outs compels both sides
toward agreement. Nonetheless, strikes and lock-outs cause inconvenience for those involved
and often for the public as well. They also sometimes disrupt public peace. Hence they have
often been subject of legal regulation.

Regulation of Strikes and Lockouts.

Employees do not have an unfettered right to go on strike nor do employers have such right to
impose lock-out. The Industrial Disputes Act lays down several restrictions on the rights of
both the parties. A strike or lock-out commenced or continued in contravention of these
restrictions is termed illegal and there is severe punishment provided for the same.

Illegal strikes and lockouts are of two types:

Those which are illegal from the time of their commencement; and

Those which are not illegal at the time of commencement but become illegal


Industrial disputes affect all the stockholders in different ways: -


Riots can lead to destruction of the plant and buildings

Machinery can also get damaged due to work stoppage lasting long

Production is reduced leading to low sales and therefore low profits

Financial obligations may not be met especially when using credit facilities.


Loss of income arising from days on strike or termination of service

Failure to meet financial obligations for self, family and other dependants.

On a positive note, may lead to better remuneration where Trade Union succeeds.


Loss of revenue in taxes from both employers and employees

Lower Gross National Product

Economic instability, which can lead to political and social instability/investor



Scarcities of the product leading to high prices

Importation of substitutes leading to eating up into the scarce

Foreign reserves.


Trade Union Organization and Structure

A trade union is an association of workers formed to protect their interests in employment
situations such as in matters of pay and working conditions and promoters of people at work. It
protects and promotes workers interests mainly by means of collective bargaining and
consultation with employers.

Trade unions provide workers with a collective voice to mark their wishes known to
management and thus bring actual and desired conditions closer together.

Trade unions exist to let management know that there will be, from time to time, an alternative
view on key issues affecting employee. Unions see their role as that of participating with
management on decision-making on maters affecting their interests.

Unions therefore work to secure through collective bargaining improved terms and conditions for
their members and also provide protection, support and advice to their members as individual
employees. Trade union success depends on members participation both as individuals and as

Over the years, trade union objectives have widened and have been influenced by economic,
political and social systems. The following have been found to also be part of the union

Secure for the workers fairer wages in the light of the cost of living and prevailing

Improve the workers working conditions by securing shorter working hours, better
working facilities and other welfare benefits.

Assure the workers of a share of increased profitable of the organization by providing

adequate payments for the job done

Protect the workers interests and safeguard them against exploitation

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Ensure the workers job security by resisting retrenchment and any other victimization
likely to harm them

Protect the larger interest of society by aiding in the improvement of trade and industry

Provide a medium through which workers interest and grievance can be expressed

Reasons for Joining Or Not Joining Trade Unions

Employees join a union for the following reasons:

To try to improve their working conditions

To gain some control over working environments

Due to pressure from colleagues who are already in a union

Dissatisfaction with management

Need for social outlet

Need for avenues of leadership

When a substantial number of employees are members of trade unions the effects on the
management of a company are that:

Decisions and policies are subject to challenge and negotiation

Management powers are limited, and they may be used cautiously

Decision making may become centralized so that a unified company industrial relations
policy can be formulated and practiced

The management may be required to give certain information about the company to
union representatives

The reasons why individual workers refuse or avoid joining trade unions may include:

It costs money to be a union member

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The thought/idea that trade unions are unnecessary

The belief that some benefits will be gotten since the CBA covers all workers in the same

Individual beliefs/convictions.

Organization and Structure

The internal structure of individual trade unions varies greatly. However, they all depend on
membership participation and they endeavour to practice internal democracy.

Although some trade union leaders are dedicated to the movement, others may seek the
satisfaction of leadership or the opportunity to gain status, recognition and freedom from tight
supervisory control.

The affairs of a trade union are run by elected union officials. The chief Executive is the
secretary General who is elected by all the union members. The secretary general supervisors the
full-time officials, controls service facilities and pursues the policies derived upon by union

Broadly speaking, trade unions officer are of three types:

The full time paid official, employed by the union

The part time voluntary official who is elected to be a branch officer of his union

The workplace representative the shop steward or staff representative

At their place of work, workers are represented by a shop steward. This s an employee of the
firm, but who acts on behalf of a group of his fellow employees. The shop steward is expected to
perform a full days work as the other company workers and gets his orders and instructions
from the supervisors in-charge of the members he represents.

The shop steward is the daily contact between union members and management and is expected
to represent both the members interest and the union policy to management.
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A steward is charged with the responsibility of recruiting new members. In the earlier days,
stewards used to collect union dues for the union, but this is no more. A check-off system now
allows the employer to remit union dues directly. The stewards also pursue grievances with
management and union officials. Large organisations with many stewards have a chief steward
elected from among the shop stewards to be their overall representative to both management and

Shop stewards powers are constrained by various company and trade unions rules. The degree of
power they hold depends on several factors including:

The extent to which collective bargaining is centralized at company / industry level

The state of the local labour market

The nature of the companys wage structure

The degree of support for the union amongst employees

Statutory provisions

Shop stewards are less powerful if the labour market is plentiful, but have greater influence in
conditions of skills shortage.

Where wages depend heavily on incentive payments, worked out locally, the stewards will be
involved in negotiating pay-putting him in a strong bargaining position. However, if people are
paid annually on an incremental scale, then the stewards have no influence on pay. The stewards
also depend on their constituents for support if available their position is strong, but if missing,
their position is weakened considerably.

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There are basically four types of trade unions




Occupational of non-manual

They consist of skilled workers who pursue the same craft. Originally, such unions were
exclusively for those skilled workers who had acquired their skills through traditional
apprenticeship e.g. carpenters, masons etc. they are the typical closed-shop trade unions

These are organized in a particular industry, irrespective of craft, trade, occupational skill or
grade of the members.

These bring together all categories of workers across a range of industries regardless of craft,
industry or occupation. They are mostly for those occupations, which cannot be easily defined as
either craft or industrial.


These are basically concerned with organisation, technical, clerical, professional, supervisory
and managerial staff separately from other workers.


Generate a list of 10 trade unions in the Country and categories them by type.
Discuss the achievements of the labour movement in Kenya in view of what has been
identified as the principle objectives of trade unions

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For the attainment of the above unions perform two types of functions militant and ministrant.
Militant functions are the strikes and go slows. Ministrant functions are those services given to
union members during strikes and lockout and to provide other benefits to them. Ministrant
functions can again be either intramural or extramural.

The former include those welfare efforts of unions, which are made within the factory premises
(e.g., improvement in working conditions, regulation of hours of work, provision of rest pauses,
adequate wages, sanitation, safety, etc). The latter include those welfare efforts of unions, which
are made outside the factory premises (e.g., provision of educational, recreational and housing
facilities to workers).

We list below the various functions of a trade union under these four heads:

1. Functions relating to the union members

2. Functions relating to the union
3. Functions relating to the organisation
4. Functions relating to society.

Functions Relating To The Union Members

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To' safeguard workers against all sorts of exploitation by, political parties by the employer
and by the union leaders.

To protect workers from the atrocities and unfair labour practices of the management.

To ensure healthy, safe and conducive working conditions, and adequate conditions of work.

To exert pressure for enhancement of rewards associated with the work only after making a
realistic assessment of its practical implications.

To ensure a desirable standard of living by providing various types of social services-health,

housing, educational, recreational, co-operative, etc." and by widening and consolidating the
social security measures.

To guarantee a fair and square deal and social justice to workers.

To remove the dissatisfaction and redress the day-to-day grievances and complaints of

To encourage workers' participation in the management of industrial organisation and trade

union, and to foster labour-management and leader-follower co- operation.

To make the workers conscious of their rights and duties.

To impress upon workers the need to exercise restraint in the use of rights and to enforce
them after realistically ascertaining their practical implications.

To stress the significance of settling disputes through negotiation, joint consultation and
voluntary arbitration, and not through adjudication.

To raise the status of trade union members in the industrial organisation and in the society at

Functions Relating To Trade Unions Organisation

To formulate policies and plans consistent with those of the industrial organisation and
society at large

To improve the network of communication between trade union and its members.

To eradicate various types of 'isms' like tribalism, regionalism and linguism within the trade
union movement.

To keep away from advocating the adoption of unfair labour practices.

To save the union organisation from the exploitation by vested interests-personal and
political interests.
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To continuously review the relevance of union objectives in the context of social change, and
to change them accordingly.

To prepare and maintain the necessary records.

To manage the trade union organisation on scientific lines.

To keep away from advocating the adoption of unfair labour practices.

To continuously review the relevance of union objectives in the context of social change, and
to change them accordingly.

To Publicise the trade union objectives and functions, to know people's reaction towards
them, and to make necessary modifications

Functions Relating To the Organisation.

To increase production: quantitatively as well as qualitatively by laying down the norms of

production and ensuring their adequate observance.

To help in the maintenance of discipline.

To create opportunities for workers' to participate in management and strengthen labourmanagement co-operation.

To help in the removal of dissatisfaction and redressal of day-to-day grievances and


To promote dialogue and amicable relationships between the workers and the management
by settling disputes through negotiation, joint consultation and voluntary arbitration, and by
avoiding litigation.

To create favourable attitude the management towards trade unions and improve their status
in industrial organisation.

To put pressure on the employer to enforce legislative provisions beneficial to the workers, to
share the profits equitably, and to keep away from various types of unfair labour practices.

To facilitate communication between the management and the workers

To impress upon the management on the need to adopt reformative, and not punitive,
approach towards workers' faults.

Functions Relating To Society:

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To render all sorts of constructive co-operation in the formulation and implementation of

plans and policies relating to national development.

To actively participate in the development of programmes of national development, e.g.

family planning, afforestation, national integration, etc.

To enable un organized sector to organize itself.

To create public opinion favourable to government's policies and plans, and to


people's participation for their effective implementation

To create public opinion favourable to trade unions and there by raise their status.

To launch special campaigns against the social evils of corruption, nepotism, communalism,
tribalism, regionalism, price-rise hoarding, black marketing, smuggling, sex inequality,
illiteracy, dirt and disease


There are many reasons which lead to the formation of the trade unions in Kenya. The main
causes were:

Imposition of colonialism


Land alienation


Introduction of Indian labour


Introduction of cash rupees in the economy


Passing of repressive ordinances

1895 1938:
In 1895, the British Government decided to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Kasese
in Uganda based mainly in commercial and political reasons.

During the same period, the British government was advised to encourage white
settlement in Kenya based on its climate, fertile land and abundant labour. Africans were
removed from their original land to give way for white settlement.

The construction of the Railway and white settlement required abundant labour, which
was in short supply because African were reluctant to provide it. In order to resolve this
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labour problems, the British government introduced in Kenya in 1896 the Indian Labour .
In 1901, hut tax ordinance and nature registration ordinance were passed.

Hut ordinance was deliberately introduced and enforced to make an adult African pay his
hut taxing rupees while the nature ordinance was used to control and count the number
of African adult labour available.

Between 1919 1922, Africans organized colonial government ordinances, Kipande,

forced labour etc and various organizations were formed namely:- Kikuyu Central
Association, young Kikuyu Association and the Kavirondo welfare Association.

In 1992, agitation against the colonial government was so tense that the government
decided to arrest and detain Harry Thuku who was the leader of the young Kikuyu
Association and his detention was followed by a strike in Nairobi.

Between 1922 & 1930 there were consultations sent to probe land and labour problems.
It encouraged colonial Government to pass for the first time the colony trade union and
trade dispute ordinances of 1937.

Despite the passing of the ordinance organizing and recruitment was difficult because of
colonial government, employers and white settlers, hostilities against trade unionism.

Trade union leaders were harassed victimized and threatened with deportation by
criminal authorities.

In 1938, the labour Trade Union of Kenya (LTUK) organized a big conference on
compensation in order to suggest clauses in favour of workers.

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In 1939 the Labour Trade Union of Kenya was renamed Labour Trade Union of East
Africa (LTUEA) so as to represent those from Tanganyika and Uganda. The LTUEA
also organized trade union courses in Kiswahili and English.

(1939 1952): Trade union activities continued during the war period including:

The establishment of the Labour Advisory Board in 1942.


The first African Eliud Mathuu entered the legislature council in 1944


The formation of Kenyas Study Union (KSU) in 1946 later renamed as Kenya
African Union (KAU).

In 1947, the British Government brought in a colonial labour officer who was charged
with the responsibility to advice the local trade unions in organizing, bargaining and
grievance handling.

During the same period there was a general strike of 15000 members in Mombasa. It was
organized by African Workers Federation (AWF).

In 1895 at a place called Ribe in Mazeras at the Coast Province, African workers who
were employed by the church mission of East Africa formed as workers organization .

It recruited workers from the mission in Ribe. Some of its demand were to improve the
conditions of the workers and assist in individual grievances.

Other trade unions formed in 1947 were African Taxi Drivers Union (ATDU) later
renamed as Kenya African Road Transport and Mechanic Union. (KARTMU).

Others include Kenya Houseboys Association Tailors and Garments Workers Union,
Night Watchman Association and African Press Workers Association..

In 1949, Makhan Singh and other Africa trade unionists formed the East African Trade
Union congress.

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By the end of 1949, the East African trade union congress had brought together the wings
of the labour movement in Kenya.

Various trade unions and political agitation took place in 1950-1952, the government declared a
state of emergency banning all political activities including Kenya African Union. It arrested
and detained most political leaders.

1952-1965: In 1952, six trade unions formed the first African dominated National centre of trade
unions namely: The Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions (KFRTU). These were:

Transport and allied workers union.


Tailoring, Tent makers and Government workers Union


Domestic and Hotel workers union


Night watchman, clerk and shop workers union


Typographical union of Kenya


East Africa Federation of Building and construction workers union.

The Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Union wads affiliated to Brussels based International
Confederation of Free Trade Union. In 1955 the KFRTU was renamed as Kenya Federation of
Labour (KFL)
In 1960, a constitutional conference took place in London. In 1962 Kenya was granted internal
self-government and Tom Mboya became the Labour Minister.
In 1963, Kenya became independent and the role of trade union had to be redefined in an
independent Kenya.

Internal disagreement led to a split in the organization leading to the formation of another
Revival National center of Trade Unions which was called Kenya African Workers Congress
(KAWC). The four National Trade unions which formed the KAWC were:


Quarry and mine workers union


Dock workers union


Petrol and oil worker union


Custom workers union

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The two National Centers Rivalism led to a scuffle, which left three persons dead in Mombasa in
1965. The government intervened by appointing presidential Ministerial Committee of trade
unions. The committee made their recommendations in line with the government sessional paper
on African socialism and its application No. 10 of 1965. The recommendations were as follows:

The deregistration of both KFRTU and KAWC


The creation of new Central Organization of Trade union (COTU)

The committees recommendations were implemented. From 1965 to 1981 the Central
Organization of Trade Unions held five elections.

The second person who became the secretary general of COTU was James Dennis Akumu who
later became the secretary general in 1975 of the Pan African Trade Union Center. (The
Organization of African Trade Union Unity OATUU)
At the organizations forth coming meeting in 1975, Juma Boy who had taken over as the
secretary General form Denis Akumu faced a strong opposition from James Karebe who was the
secretary General of Kenya Local Government Union. Karebe finally lost to Juma Boy.

At one time, Karebe formed rival National center of trade unions called Federation of United
Trade Unions (FUTU) but it was not registered by the government. The disagreement between
FUTU and COTU was based on the representation of National Unions at COTU governing
council meeting. In 1980 the COTUs constitution was amended with those amendments
registered by the government, Karebe fought to take over from Juma Boy but he lost again. The
current COTU Secretary general Francis Atwoli.
Juma Boy.

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Topic 8: Discipline and disciplinary procedures.

Types of discipline problems.
Disciplining special employee groups.

Discipline refers to a condition in the organization when employers conduct themselves in

accordance with the organizations rules and standards of acceptable behaviour. However, not
all employees will accept the responsibility of self-discipline. Such employees therefore will
require some degree of extrinsic disciplinary action.

Types of Discipline Problems

a) Attendance Absenteeism, tiredness, abuse of sick leave etc.
Why attendance such as serious problem?

Many organizations have failed to align workers goals with those of the organization.

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A changing attitude towards employment. For many work isnt their central life interest
and hence the desire to conscientiously be in their jobs regularly is not of primary

Increased difficulty in firing an employee especially those union members protected by

collective bargaining agreement.

b) On the Job-Behaviours
For example insubordination, fighting, carelessness, abuse of alcohol and drugs etc. The
above represent clear violations of an organization acceptable standards of behaviour.
Thus corrective action should be taken immediately.

c) Dishonesty
For example theft, falsified information (lies).

d) Outside

These are activities that employees engage outside of their work but which either affect
their on-the job performance. For example, unauthorized strike activity, having ones
wages garnished, outside criminal activities.

Before disciplinary action: Put the problem in perspective:

The following nine contingency factors have been proposed to help analyse a disciplinary

1) Seriousness of the problem

2) Duration of the problem
3) Frequency and nature of problem
4) Employees work history
5) Extenuating factors
6) Degree of socialisation
7) History of the organizations discipline practices
8) Implications for other employees.
9) Management backing.
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General guidelines in administering discipline:

1) Make disciplinary action corrective than punitive.
2) Make disciplinary action progressive

Disciplinary Actions
Disciplinary generally follows a typical sequence of four steps:
a) Oral warning this is the mildest form of discipline. This reprimand is best achieved if
completed in a private and informal environment. The manager should begin by clearly
informing the employee of the rule that has been violated and the problem the infraction
has caused.
i) After the problem and the implications arising thereof have been made clear by the
Manager, the employee should be given a change to respond giving emphasis to; is she
aware of the problem? Are there extenuating circumstances that justify her behaviour?
What does she plan to do to correct her behaviour?
ii) The Manager must determine if the employee has proposed an adequate solution
to the problem.
iii) If this hasnt been done, then the Manager will need to consider direct the discussion
toward helping the subordinate figure out ways to prevent the trouble from recurring.
iv) Once a solution has been agreed upon the Manager should ensure that the employee
understands what if any follow-up action will be taken if the problem recurs.
v) If the oral warning is effective, further official disciplinary action can be avoided.
vi) If the employee fails to improve, the manager will need to consider more severe
action. A final point on the oral warning: its good idea to make a temporary record of
this reprimand and place it in the employee file.
vii) It should state the purpose, date and outcome of the interview with the employee.
Once the employee has demonstrated that she has corrected the problem the record of the
oral reprimand can be removed from the file.

b) Written Warning

The second step in progressive discipline.

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In effect, its first formal stage of discipline procedure since written warning becomes part
of the employees official file. This is relieved by not only giving the warning to the
employee, but sending a copy to the personnel department to be inserted in the employees
permanent record.

The employee is advised of the violation, its effect and potential consequences of future
violations. The only difference with the oral warning procedure is that the discussion
concludes with the employee being told that written warning will be issued.

Then the manager writes up the warning stating the problem the rule that has been
violated, any acknowledgement by employee to correct her behaviour and the
consequence from a recurrence of the deviant behaviour.

c) Suspension

This is the next step taken only if the prior steps have been implemented without the
desired outcome.

Exceptions where suspension is given without any prior written warning. Occasionally
occur if the problem is of a serious nature.

A suspension may be for one day or several weeks. Disciplinary layoffs in excess of a
month are rare.

Some organizations skip this step completely because it can have negative consequences
for both the company and employee.

For example if a suitable replacement isnt located, the organization performance is

severely impacted.

The suspended employee may return in a more unpleasant and negative frame of mind
than layoff.

However, a short lay off, without pay has the potential to be a rude awakening to problem

It may convince them that management is serious and shock them back to accepting
responsibility for following the organizations rules.

d) Demotion

If suspension hasnt been effective and management wants to strongly avoid dismissing
the problematic employees demotion may be an alternative demotion.
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Its not commonly used because it tends to demoralize the employee but her co-worker as

If the demotion has a place as a disciplinary action, it probably is where:

i) the employee clearly has the ability to perform her job
ii) management perceived itself legally or ethically constrained from firing the employee
(for example one with 30 years of tenure in the organization)
iii) its believed that a blatant demotion will awaken the employee

In such instances, emotion is a loud message that the employee will have to shape up
radically if she wants her old job back and that management has no intention of letting
her get away with chronic abuses of the organizations rules.

e) Paycut

This approach usually has a demoralizing effect on the employee, but it has been
suggested as a rational action by management if only other alternative is dismissed.

From the managements perspective dismissal means losing the individuals experience
and background.

A replacement will be hired in at a lower salary, but has to be trained to do the job.

If the problem employee alters her behaviour, then pay cut can always be reinstated.

f) Dismissal

Managements ultimate disciplinary punishment is dismissing the problem employee.

Dismissal should be used only for the most serious offences. Yet, it may be the only
feasible alternative when an employees behaviour is so bad as to seriously interfere with
a department or the organisation operation.

A dismissal decision should be given long and hard consideration.

Being fired from a job is an emotional trauma. Thus, the management should consider
the possibility that a dismissed employee will take legal action to fight the decision.

Disciplining Special Employee Groups

a) Unionised employees

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Where employee belong to a union, there will be a collective bargaining agreement. This
agreement among other things, will outline rules governing the behaviour of union

Itll also identify disciplinary procedures and clarify the steps members are to follow if
they believe that they are receiving arbitrary or unfair treatment.

Most collective bargaining agreements stipulate that employees can only be disciplined
for `just cause and provide a grievance procedure and opportunities for third party
arbitration if employees believe theyre wronged.

Disciplining a unionized employee thus tends to be a more formal than the disciplinary of
non-union employees.

b) Professional Employees

Engineers, computer specialists, accountant, medics also present unique disciplinary

problem. Because they hold high skills and frequently possess important and valuable
information about the organization.

They are more difficult to replace if dismissed and can discredit the organization with
competitors, suppliers, customers, government agencies or other constituencies.

Thus, management must take greater care in disciplining professional employees than it
might take with non-unionised operative employees.

They may explain the replacement of traditional dismissal actions with the practice of
declining and offering outplacement services.

Declining seeks to get the employee to voluntarily quit. If the employee isnt performing
adequately and corrective, attempts have proved unsuccessful, management can begin
sending out clues that the professional services are no longer needed.

Excluding the employee from important meetings, by passing her on key memos and
reassigning her to boring and unchallenging tasks are examples of actions that should
convey the message.

If theyre successful, the employee finds another job and gives her notice.

This saves the employees and organization face.

Outplacement counseling is usually provided to the professional by her employers for the
purposes of assisting him in marketing his services (designing & updating ones resume,

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making lists of contacts, coaching on how to go on interviews an advise on how to follow

up on leads and how to evaluate any job offers that are received.

In contract to declining outplacement requires management to become a partner in

helping the professional find new employment. Its expensive for the organization but a
definite step forward in humanistic treatment of employees.


Tom P. Muchelle a hand book of employee relations

Dr. Karim Omido Distance Learning Material Kenya Methodist University.

Juanita M. Kreps, Martin Richard Perlman, Gerald G Somers, (1980). Contemporary Labour
Economics and Labour Relations, Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Liontos, Demetri. (2002) Collaborative Bargaining: Case Studies and Recommendations.

Eugene: Oregon School Study Council, University of Oregon, OSSC Bulletin Series. 27 pages.
ED number not yet assigned.

Marsh and Soulsby (1981) Business Law, fifth education, Bath Press, Avon in Great Britain.

McMahon, Dennis O. "Getting To Yes." Paper presented at the annual conference of the
American Association of School Administrators, New Orleans, LA, February 20-23, 1987. ED
280 188

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