Industrial court chief roots for employment tribunals

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He also urged the employers to always give a fair hearing to the employees before terminating their contracts, adding that issuing notices to the employees is not enough.

KAMPALA – The Chief Judge of the Industrial Court has rooted for employment tribunals saying that they help to reduce case backlog in formal courts.

While presiding over the swearing in of the eight members of Kyambogo University tribunal at Esella country Hotel, Asaph Ruhinda Ntengye said the tribunals help in expediting cases as compared to the formal courts where cases take long to be resolved.

“The beauty with organizational tribunals is that the cases there are easily resolved as compared to those in formal courts.  It’s a good thing for all companies to have tribunals so that some disputes are resolved there and then,” Ruhinda said.

He also urged the employers to always give a fair hearing to the employees before terminating their contracts, adding that issuing notices to the employees is not enough.

“If you charge someone in your tribunal, you should explain to him why you are charging him and allow him to explain why he carried out that offence,” Ruhinda said.

He also encouraged organizational tribunals to carry out investigations before convicting the person to their court; however, on instances where the complainant is not satisfied with the tribunal ruling, he is free to appeal to the high court.

Ruhinda noted that tribunals are not courts of law to deal with complicated matters of the organization, but their role is to deal with issues like misconduct and other simple cases against an employee.

He said mediation is key and that employers should try their level best to see that they settle issues between them and their employees before taking the matter to court.

Elijah Wante, Kyambogo University Tribunal Chairperson said they have resolved a number of cases especially those to do with the misconduct of some university staff and others, where some workers were not given a fair hearing on their termination.

“On occasion, where one was fired without being heard, we asked University administration to reinstate them and we carry out investigations,” Wante said.

Reverend Grace Rubaale, a member of the tribunal said the tribunal faces a challenge of having no budget to help them resolve and run the cases expeditiously, adding that they sometimes do not convene their meeting because of lack of funds and places where to resolve issues.

“I request the University to allocate a budget for the tribunal so that it is empowered with its own resources since it runs its own business,” Rubaale said.

The University tribunals are provided for under the University and Tertiary Act and that the complainant should appeal to the high court with in 14 days.

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