Ms. Jacqueline Mugo, Executive Director & CEO Federation of Kenya Employers represented Employers at the Employment and Labour Relations Annual Symposium and Exhibition (ELRASE) which took place at KICC, Nairobi between 17th -19th July 2023. This event coincided with the Court’s 10 years celebrations of judicial service delivery to Kenyans.
The event whose theme was: ‘The Place of Employment and Labour Relations Court in Promoting Social Justice and Economic Prosperity’, was presided over by the Hon Chief Justice Martha Koome and brought together stakeholders of the Court to discuss issues affecting the employment and labour sector.
In her opening remarks, the Chief Justice noted that the Judiciary has extended the reach of the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) across the country by establishing 10 ELRC stations and an additional 11 sub-registries to increase access to justice. She said that increasing the footprint of the Court is a testament to the Judiciary’s pledge to take justice closer to the people, to ensure that every Kenyan, no matter where they live, has access to fair and impartial judgement.
Speaking at the event Ms. Jacqueline Mugo acknowledged the role played by ELRC to accelerate service delivery and underscored FKE’s commitment to fair labour practice. “We have always advocated for judgments and pronouncements that leave both the workers and the employers better off than before they came to court. I am happy to say that to a large extent our court has lived up to our expectations. There are occasions when we have disagreed with some decisions on the basis that it is harmful to the proper functioning and development of the labour market and the preservation of industrial peace and harmony in Kenya”, she said
Ms. Mugo urged the ELRC to strive towards becoming the model employment court in Africa, a shining example for others to emulate. Further, she asked the Judiciary to consider creation of the Employment & Labour Relations Division in the Court of Appeal, as this would go a long way in supporting proper functioning of the Labour sector.
On his part, the ELRC Principal Judge Byram Ongaya said that the symposium was part of the continuing national conversation about implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 adding that it offers an opportunity, in the immediate narrower sense, to reflect upon the role and impact of the Judiciary and in particular the ELRC since its establishment over ten years .
On the third and final day of the symposium, Ms. Jaqueline Mugo, Executive Director & CEO FKE , voiced employers perspectives through a panel discussion whose guiding theme was "Enhancing Access to justice through Alternative Dispute Resolution” Ms. Mugo had the opportunity to share her views on the challenges of using Mediation, Conciliation and Negotiations in settling employment disputes.
Under the Kenyan Constitution, ADR mechanisms are highlighted in Article 159 with a view to promoting access to justice in accordance with Article 48 thereof with regard to Intergovernmental disputes, communal land disputes and labor disputes.