Role of Trade Unions in the Enhancement of Peaceful Work Relations for Efficient Conflict Management in Public Universities in Kenya

By April 13, 2018Kenya, Social dialogue


Disagreements are always an inevitable part of organizational life. Labour conflicts can be regarded as disputes that occur when interests, goals or values of different individuals or groups within a workplace are unharmonious with each other. The institutions of higher learning in Kenya are experiencing a lot of conflicts which are mostly left unresolved. Conflicts between individual workers/employees and also between workers and management have escalated. Labour conflicts leads to cases of frequent strikes, lock ups and any other forms of unrest as seen in our Universities. Proper management of conflicts however deserves special and adequate consideration in harmonizing workplace relations. This study aimed to establish the role of trade unions in managing conflicts in institutions of higher learning by enhancing of peaceful work relations. The study was based in Moi University since it one of the oldest and largest universities in Kenya. The target population of the study encompassed all the 683 employees in the university who were registered members of different trade unions. Stratified sampling was used to divide the population into three categories thus Lecturers, Middle grade staff and junior staff. 205 respondents were selected purposively for the study. Secondary data was obtained from existing literature and university documents while primary data was collected from the respondents using questionnaires. According to the results, 80% of the respondents confirmed that trade unions in their workplace use the role of labour relations in conflict management. In relation to whether job specification is clearly drawn to ensure peaceful work relations, 64.8% of the respondents agreed while 17.1% disagreed. The respondents were additionally asked whether existence of harmonious work relations leads to high productivity among workers. 94.2% of the respondents agreed that high productivity is achieved when harmonious relations exist among the workers. In regard to whether trade unions encourage consultations among their members as a way of creating harmonious work relations, 82.5% of the respondents agreed while only 0.5% disagreed. The study recommends that trade unions jointly with management should maintain continual negotiations with the employers to avoid employee-employer conflicts. Collective bargaining should be promoted as a tool with which employers and employees are able to negotiate on matters affecting the work place.


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