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Dialogue is the key to prevent strikes in the future

By Isavwa Isaac Sore | November 14th 2015

The endless wrangles between the government and the teachers' unions are no longer pleasant. The dragging of the cases in court over time has had a negative impact on learners across the country. Article 159 (2) (c) of the Constitution gives room for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This framework allows parties in dispute to bring to the table the matter at hand, enables critical analysis and ventilation through the matter and subsequently arrives at a binding solution which in most cases is a win-win for all the parties.

Litigation has many pitfalls compared to ADR, one being the likelihood of losing a case as witnessed with the teachers who lost the 50-60 per cent increment earlier agreed upon. Some teachers committed suicide due to the stress and frustration of unpaid salary, a situation attributed to the strike.

The Teachers Service Commission should emulate Kenya Revenue Authority which has successfully launched ADR and is effectively using it to solve disputes with the taxpayers.

Labour movements, unions and other parties embroiled in disputes should embrace ADR mechanisms as opposed to litigation which is expensive, takes a longer period to resolve and the end result is likely to be a win-lose outcome. In this way, we shall avert industrial action by workers.

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