All Hands in Kenya supports code of practice for workplace compliance in the tea and textile sectors in Kenya

The Code of Practice offers practical advice to revitalize existing systems or establish independent institutions, ensuring efficient operation and effective dispute resolution services, drawing heavily from previous ILO publications.

News | 11 July 2023
Nairobi (ILO News) -Workplace compliance and the protection of labour rights go hand in hand with the establishment of high-performing labour market institutions and the enforcement of legislation. Recognizing this link, the International Labour Organization (ILO) emphasizes the importance of strategic, efficient, and effective labour market institutions to achieve compliance. In line with this objective, the ILO has conducted studies highlighting the significance of effective dispute resolution and workplace grievance handling in fostering a sound and productive employment relationships worldwide.

Dispute resolution processes provide a valuable collective bargaining resource and strengthen social partnerships among interested parties. Acknowledging the inherent conflict in employment relationships, establishing effective dispute prevention and resolution processes becomes crucial in minimizing workplace conflicts and their consequences. With this in mind, a Code of Practice has been developed to assist social partners and practitioners working to establish, assess, and improve such processes.

In Kenya, there are existing dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms within and outside the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, each with its organizational structures and roles. The ILO has been actively supporting member states, workers, and employers' organizations in strengthening these systems. The Code of Practice offers practical advice to revitalize existing systems or establish independent institutions, ensuring efficient operation and effective dispute resolution services, drawing heavily from previous ILO publications.

To facilitate the development of the Code of Practice, All Hands in Kenya (AHK) engaged a consultant who acted as both a researcher and a facilitator. Through consultations with representatives in the tea and textile sectors, the consultant reviewed workplace grievance handling procedures, guidelines, and mechanisms to identify priorities and needs. Based on these insights, the initial voluntary Code of Practice was drafted. This comprehensive resource provides practical advice, best practices, and case studies aimed at enhancing compliance with labour laws and international standards.

Through the implementation of this project, the ILO aims to provide tailored advice and tools to improve the delivery of labour market institutions. This includes enhancing their independent performance, strengthening partnerships with other institutions, and influencing stakeholders to deliver within their spheres of operation and influence, all in pursuit of compliance and decent work. Focusing specifically on the tea and textile sectors, this approach ensures that labour market institutions contribute to greater compliance with national labour laws.

The voluntary Code of Practice has been prepared to foster sound industrial relations in the tea and textile sectors in Kenya. It offers user-friendly practical information for employers and workers when dealing with industrial grievances in these sectors. Furthermore, it seeks to assist employers and workers in increasing compliance with international labour standards and the country's labour laws, which are essential for international trade and the realization of a decent work agenda.

To ensure a comprehensive and inclusive development process, a validation meeting was held on Thursday, 6th July, where representatives from the government, employers, and employees in the tea and textile sectors provided their valuable input and feedback on the draft Code of Practice. This collaborative effort showcases the commitment of all stakeholders towards advancing labour standards in Kenya.

Facilitated by the All Hands in Kenya: Advancing Labour Standards Through Cooperative Action Project, the development of this Code of Practice includes simple definitions and terminologies used in grievance handling, historical background, and evolution of grievance handling mechanisms in Kenya, legal frameworks, institutions, relevant international labour instruments, and best practices. This is part of AHK's efforts to provide technical assistance to projects in Kenya, specifically within the tea and textile sectors, to improve compliance with international labour standards and acceptable conditions of work (ACW).

The institutionalization of the Code of Practice this year will mark a significant milestone in advancing workplace compliance in Kenya's tea and textile sectors. It is a testament to the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders and a commitment to fostering a fair and equitable working environment. By adhering to the principles and guidance outlined in the Code, employers and workers can contribute to the realization of decent work and the promotion of harmonious industrial relations in Kenya.