cropped cropped White with Bold Red Political Logo 1 2337 Consultancy: Developing and Piloting a Code of Practice (voluntary) for employers and workers on industrial relations and dispute resolution

Consultancy: Developing and Piloting a Code of Practice (voluntary) for employers and workers on industrial relations and dispute resolution

  • Contractor
  • Kenya
  • TBD USD / Year
  • International Labour Organization profile

  • Job applications may no longer being accepted for this opportunity.

International Labour Organization

Consultancy: Developing and Piloting a Code of Practice (voluntary) for employers and workers on industrial relations and dispute resolution, with emphasis on workplace cooperation and workplace-level grievance handling in tea and textile sectors

Donor Agency: United States Department of Labour (USDOL)

Contracting Unit: ILO Country Office for Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

Assignment period: December 2022 – March 2023

Contract Type: External Collaboration (EXCOL) Individual Consultancy

Geographical Coverage

  • Tea Sector: Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Muranga, Nyeri, Meru, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet, Nandi, and Kericho
  • Textile Sector: Nairobi; Machakos, and Mombasa

1. Introduction

The International Labour Organization (ILO) seeks a consultant to develop and pilot a Code of Practice (voluntary), for employers and workers on industrial relations, with particular emphasis on workplace cooperation and workplace-level grievance handling mechanism in tea and textile sectors.

The work is to be carried out in the framework of the ILO development cooperation project All Hands in Kenya: Advancing Labor Standards through Cooperative Action. The project is funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL); Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA) and runs from December 2020 to December 2024.

2. Background and Rationale

The ILO recognizes that there is a direct link between 1) high performing labour market institutions (labour inspectorate, courts, and workers’ and employers’ organizations); 2) the protection of labour rights; and 3) the rule of law. Whereas it is incumbent upon employers to comply with legislation and upon workers and their representatives to advocate and lobby for responsible practice, it is incumbent upon the state to enforce and otherwise promote compliance. Therefore, building strategic, efficient, and effective labour market institutions is fundamentally important to achieve compliance at the workplace.

By implementing this project, ILO is providing tailored advice and tools to nudge Kenyan labour market institutions to 1) better deliver what they can and should deliver by themselves; 2) better deliver what they can and should deliver in partnership with other institutions of work; and 3) better influence other stakeholders to better deliver what those bodies can and should deliver within their spheres of operation and influence, all in pursuit of compliance and decent work. This approach, with a focus on tea and apparel, will ensure that labour market institutions contribute to greater compliance with national labour law.

Grievance handling mechanisms at workplace level may take one or more of a number of forms. These can include for instance, structured mechanisms where workers lodge grievances which are then dealt with through defined procedures by management. Another system could involve the establishment of worker-management committees to receive and manage complaints. A broad range of systems and processes have been developed by private and public sector entities.
The system and process for internal workplace grievance handling should be responsive to the national and local context and be appropriate for enterprises in the tea and textile sectors. All grievance handling systems should be in conformity with the principles provided in the ILO Examination of Grievances Recommendation, 1967 (No.130).

*In this context, grievances relate to existing rights and entitlements under legislation, employment contracts, enterprise rules, policies and collective agreements. They do not relate to interest disputes such as disputes between trade unions and employers over the contents of a future collective agreement.

Social dialogue is a problem-solving mechanism to achieve social equity, economic efficiency and democratic participation. It is essential for protecting labour rights, facilitating wage determination, improving working conditions and promoting sustainable enterprises. It is, therefore, a valuable means of protecting and promoting the interests of workers by extending democracy and human dignity to the workplace. It is also a well-tested instrument for managing social and economic change while maintaining societal consensus and stability.

International labour standards provide the main guiding principles for labour relations at the workplace, notably freedom of association, effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining and other instruments designed to facilitate cooperation, communication, and conflict management at the workplace.

While much progress has been made in promoting a culture of social dialogue in Kenya, the conditions for effective and successful social dialogue still requires further improvement. Employers and workers still face obstacles which prevent them from exercising their rights to associate freely and to engage in social dialogue, collective bargaining,and workplace-level grievance handling.

One challenge identified by the AHK project in its initial in-depth research on non-judicial mechanisms is that lack of a uniform voluntary Code of Practice for employers and workers in industrial relations.

Regarding fundamental principles and rights at work, active unions are more involved in the tea sector (59.4%) than in the apparel sector (22.1%). In the apparel sectors, institutional structures put in place by most industries in EPZ do not allow employees to join trade unions. Discrimination based on different job cadres or positions by management in EPZ factories is common. According to EPZA, 90% of the workers in the apparel sector are not unionized, while the other 10% are in workers’ consultative committees where workers’ representatives and employers sit together to iron out issues. In the tea sector, the Collective Bargaining Agreements are less adhered to as cases of employees at the tea facilities reported termination of contracts.

The All Hands in Kenya (AHK) project therefore seeks to improve the capacity for employers and workers on industrial relations, with particular emphasis on workplace cooperation and workplace-level grievance handling mechanism in tea and textile sectors by promoting mutual understanding of labour rights and responsibilities.

3. Objective

The ILO did commission an assessment on “Improving access to judicial and non-judicial remedies related to labour laws and standards in the Republic of Kenya” in 2021. The assessment recommended that, workplace level grievance procedures (ideally based on bipartite structures) shall be better utilized in Kenya to prevent the escalation of labour disputes, or to serve as “entry points” for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, that the MOL is currently planning to institutionalize in Kenya. It must be noted that for individual disputes, there is no institutionalized internal workplace level grievance procedure set forth in Kenyan labour law. There exists no non-judicial mechanisms or standard operating procedures-to support access to work-place grievance handling/non-judicial mechanisms. It was established that, by-laws exist in some factories where workers are protected from harassment by employers for example and serve as procedural and policy guide for grievance handling. Also, very few employers have channels for workers to register complaints.

The assessment suggested promotion of procedures for voluntary Codes of practice to allow problems to be dealt with in a fair, consistent and speedy manner, the ILO GRIEVANCE HANDLING GUIDEBOOK (wcms_622209.pdf ( should be a guide.

4. Scope of Work

The consultant will act as both a researcher and a facilitator. The Consultant will review examples of workplace grievance handling procedures, guidelines and mechanism in consultation with representatives in the tea and textile sectors on priorities, needs and draft internal workplace Code of Practice (voluntary). It will be expected that the Consultant will also facilitate a meeting to discuss and validate the draft Code of Practice.

In particular, the consultant will:

  • Review existing internal Grievance Handling Guidelines and principles made available by ILO, ILO’s Industrial Relations Global Toolkit and other relevant ILO instruments on industrial relations together with any such Guidelines recommended by employers.
  • Carry out consultations with employer and worker representatives as well as government officials in the tea and textile sectors on workplace grievance handling and dispute prevention to understand their needs and priorities.
  • Conduct individual interviews with workers in the tea and textile sectors.
  • Based on the review of comparative examples, ILS, and consultations, draft a voluntary Code of Practice for workplace grievance handling and an outline of the key contents for approval.
  • Facilitate a one-day workshop with employers’ representatives and trade unions from the tea and textile sectors to share and validate the voluntary Code of Practice.
  • Pilot the draft Code of Practice across the tea and textile sectors
  • Add information gained in the workshop and pilot to the draft voluntary Code. The final draft shall be shared with ILO for comments before finalisation.

5. Competence and Expertise Requirements


  • A university degree in Law, Labour, Economics, Social sciences or a related field. Advanced degree/ postgraduate training in corresponding labour relations is desirable.


  • Excellent research skills (both field and desktop research).
  • Must possess good communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Demonstrable knowledge and deep understanding of Kenya’s legal, policy, institutional and administrative measures regarding labour law compliance, especially in the apparel and tea sectors.


  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience in international, comparative labour law and industrial relations.
  • A minimum of 7 years’ experience in labour law and policy studies, assessments and drafting processes in Kenya and other common law jurisdictions in East Africa is more desirable.
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of relevant ILO instruments on industrial relations and dispute resolution
  • Familiarity with the legal framework on labour disputes in Kenya and local context
  • Demonstrable experience of writing training guides or similar materials that are able to effectively convey complex issues in simple and easy to understand language.
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders, including Government of Kenya officials, and social partners.

6. Deliverables

The main deliverables of the assignment will be:

a. An inception report upon reviewing available documents and an initial discussion with the MoLSP, FKE COTU and AHK project. The report should include the following: –

  • The conceptual framework and methodology will be used to develop the code of practice.
  • Set out the information required to create the code of practice in detail.
  • Detail the work plan for the development of the code of practice, indicating the phases and their key deliverables and milestones.
  • Interview list of key stakeholders and the tools for interviews/discussions guide.
  • Indicative piloting plan in tea and textile sectors.
  • Proposed outline of the code of practice.

b. Organize a preliminary code of practice draft-sharing forum with key stakeholders. The content may include and not be limited to (as shall be agreed by FKE and COTU-K).

  • Importance of dispute resolution and workplace grievance handling.
  • Guiding principles.
  • Grievance handling procedures.
  • Who is involved in dispute resolution and grievance handling at the workplace.
  • Role and responsibilities of parties,
  • Causes and basic types of workplace disputes and grievances.
  • What workers and unions should know about labour disputes and grievance handling mechanisms;
  • Strategies to minimize workplace disputes and maximize workplace cooperation.
  • Checklists and tools for best practice in grievance handling.
  • Additional sections and tools should also be included depending on the needs and priorities of employers and unions in the tea and textile sectors.
  • Gender, Non-discrimination, Violence and Harassment.

7. Consultancy duration

The total duration of the review process will be 45 working days, spread over three months. To start on 20th December 2022 and end on 30th March 2023.

8. Selection Criteria

ILO / AHK Project will evaluate the proposals and award the assignment based on technical responsiveness and financial feasibility. Ensuring transparency, impartiality and neutrality as per the below guide.

Criteria – Maximum Points

Technical proposal – 20 points

Qualification and experience – 15 points

Academic qualifications – 10 points

Professional training and certifications in industrial relations – 10 points

Experience in similar assignments at the national level – 15 points

Experience in stakeholder engagement and working with government and multi stakeholder agencies – 10 points

Knowledge of the labour sector – 10 points

Analytical and report writing skills (must attach three related tasks) – 10 points

Total – 100 points

Incomplete applications received after the closing date will be unqualified. The project will notify the selected candidate two weeks after the close of the application date.

9. Contract terms and application process

1. ILO’s IGDS Number 224 (Version 1) shall guide deliverables and payments on external collaboration consultancy assignments.

2. Interested and qualified candidates should submit their applications which should include the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae with at least three (3) relevant referees.
  • Technical and Financial Proposal for implementing the assignment not more than ten (10) pages.
  • Sample report of similar past assignments carried out at most five (5) years ago (3 in number).

How to apply

Only qualified candidates to send applications to;

The Director,

International Labour Organization ILO Country Office for United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda,

Maktaba Street P.O. Box 9212 Daresalam,


E-mail [email protected] Quoting “Code of Practice (Voluntary)” in the subject line to reach by 5.00 15th December 2022 – 5.00 PM, East Africa time.

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