Strathmore Hosts the 2nd Mediation Summit on Employment Disputes


In a world where the dynamics of employment relations shape the very fabric of our societies and where disputes can often feel like insurmountable mountains, a glimmer of hope arises. The 2nd Mediation Summit on Employment Disputes, convened at Strathmore University on April 18-19, 2024, stands as a guiding light through these turbulent waters.  The summit, spearheaded by the Court Annexed Mediation Stakeholder Working Group, built upon the triumphs of the previous year’s gathering. This symbolizes the strong partnership forged between the Judiciary and Strathmore University through the Strathmore Dispute Resolution Centre (SDRC).

Under the theme ‘Harmonizing Labour Relations: Fostering Social Justice and Economic Growth Through Mediation,’ the two-day summit convened stakeholders from various institutions. These included the Judiciary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), Annexed Mediation Taskforce Kenya, Central Organization of Trade Unions, Federation of Kenya Employers, and the Law Society of Kenya. The assembly marked a pivotal juncture in the trajectory of dispute resolution, welcoming a new era of collaboration and innovation.

Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya said the choice of the second summit highlights the recognition of the pivotal role that mediation can play in enhancing workplace dynamics, thereby contributing to broader social justice and economic development in the country. 

“Labour relations are inherently complex, woven with the threads of human dignity, economic necessity, and social equity. In a world where industrial disputes can arise as swiftly as the winds change, mediation stands as a beacon of hope. A tool that can transform conflict into consensus, and adversity into opportunity,” said Justice Koome in a speech read by the Deputy Chief Justice, Justice Philomena Mwilu.

The Chief Justice further lauded the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) for embracing and recognising Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms as an effective approach to resolving disputes relating to employment and labour relations.  

“The ELRC is the first court to set up an independent ADR Committee within the Court. This is a commendable example that should be emulated and replicated in all our courts,” said Justice Koome. 

Hon. Florence Bore, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection appreciated the Court Annexed Mediation Stakeholder Working Group and Strathmore University for convening the summit.  She stated that the summit endeavours to reinforce the indispensable role that mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms play in fostering sound Industrial Relations. 

“This aspect stands as a cornerstone of any flourishing society, encapsulating the complex interdependence between employers and employees, each possessing their distinct aspirations, rights, and obligations. We recognize that disputes are inevitable, but how we address them defines the fabric of our society,” said Cabinet Secretary Bore. 

Dr Edward Mungai, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Partnerships and Development, represented Dr Vincent Ogutu, Vice Chancellor, Strathmore University. The Vice Chancellor stated that as an institution, Strathmore University anticipates that the discussions will lead to new insights and collaborations, contributing to the ongoing development of mediation as a critical tool for conflict resolution.

Dr Ogutu further elaborated  the pivotal role of the Strathmore Dispute Resolution Centre (SDRC), situated within the Strathmore Law School. He emphasized that the Centre serves as a cornerstone in facilitating and advancing mediation as a sustainable and cost-effective dispute resolution mechanism not only in Kenya but also across the wider East African region.

“Since its establishment in 2012, SDRC has made significant strides in training mediators, judiciary staff, lawyers, and trainers across the country, fostering a culture change from adversarial to the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution,” said Dr Ogutu. 

The mediation summit, which attracted over 300 participants, also featured insightful panel discussions exploring diverse facets of employing mediation to address labor disputes. Experts delved into topics such as the efficacy of mediation in fostering amicable resolutions, strategies for navigating complex employment conflicts, and the transformative potential of mediation in enhancing workplace dynamics. 

Article written by Stephen Wakhu

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