The practice of staff bargaining on terms and conditions of service outside union representation in the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority
Kenya’s history since independence has witnessed a culture of strong labour movements where trade unions have earned their mark both in the pre-independence struggle for freedom and post independence struggles championing the workers’ course. They have often come out as the voice of the worker with legislation in place bestowing on them the right to represent workers in bargaining with employers. Despite eminence of trade unions as the champions of workers in the employment industry, a unique phenomenon has been going on at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. Here the staff without union representation have for over 20 years engaged the employer and succeeded in improving their terms even where the unions failed, casting doubt as to the role of unions in this organization and posing the question as to whether bargaining for terms and conditions of service can be feasible outside a union structure. This research therefore set to determine how well the practice of bargaining on terms and conditions of service outside union representation is working at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. The research was conducted as a case study and data collected through interviewing respondents. Six instances where staff took to industrial action without union representation were enumerated to respondents and their opinion sought as to the extent each measured up to a normal union led bargaining. The ﬁndings are that five (5) of these instances measured up to the standards of any other normal union led bargaining by over 80%. This has therefore led to the conclusion that the practice of staff bargaining for their terms and conditions outside union representation at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has worked like any other union led bargaining and has been used by these staffs for over 20 years. It is therefore recommended among others that the unions trying to penetrate this area have to re-look at their strategies with the view to regaining their position here.