The Chairman of the Trade Disputes Panel is Mrs. Natalie Tadiki Kesaka. The Trade Disputes Panel is established by the Trade Disputes Act (TDA), 1981 (Cap 75). It is a tribunal that conciliates or arbitrates on industrial disputes between employers and employees. The Trade Disputes Panel (TDP) also arbitrates on unfair dismissal complaints by employees who are being terminated by their employers. The establishment of the Trade Disputes Panel becomes necessary to avoid industrial disputes having to go through the formal and complicated court procedures which can be time consuming and costly.
Role of Trade Disputes Panel
- To facilitate or encourage amicable settlement of trade disputes between employers and employees through the process of conciliation.
- Only where negotiation fails, the matter is referred to the Panel for arbitration.
Composition of the Trade Disputes Panel
- Consists of Chairman (or the Deputy Chairman), one employer representative and one employee representative
- Currently, there are eight Panel members altogether, 4 representing employers and other 4 representing employees.
- At one sitting only one from each side will sit with the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman to form a quorum..
- Panel members are appointed by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour & Immigrations
- Term of appointment is two years and can be renewed if recommended by the nominating body
- Where a dispute exists between the employer and the employees, either party can refer the matter to the TDP pursuant to section 4 of the TD Act, Cap 75
- Reference must be given to the Panel Secretary stating the following:
- Name of person making the reference
- Name and address of every other person alleged to be party to the dispute; and
- Question at issue between the parties
- Majority of cases dealt with by the Panel are Unfair Dismissal cases.
- Panel determines whether the complainant’s dismissal was fair or unfair.
- Where Panel finds that the dismissal was unfair, it recommends re-instatement or awards compensation instead.
- Amount of compensation is such that is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances (s.7(1)TDA)
- Amount not to exceed 52 x BW, where “BW” is the basic weekly wage of the complainant.
Panel determine its own procedures
- Rule 2: Panel can determine its own procedures
- Rule 11: conducts hearing in a manner it considers most suitable to the clarification and just handlings of proceedings.
- In considering award in trade dispute matters, the Panel to take account not only the interest of the parties to the dispute but also the likely effect of the award on other persons and on the economy as a whole (s .6 (4) TDA).
- Panel to submit its draft award to the Minister (s.8 (2) TDA)
- Minister has power to vary the award within 7 days upon receipt of the draft award.
- Through the High Court on question of law only (s.13 TDA)
- TDP awards can only be enforced through the Courts.
- Parties to the award are obliged to comply with the award and not to seek or induce any other party to break any of its terms (s.9 (3) TDA)