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.