Unraveling the Legal Maze: A Synopsis of UASU vs. Egerton University Labor Dispute

In a recent legal battle before the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi, the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) faced off against Egerton University in a case that delved into the registration of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) spanning the years 2013-2017. The court's ruling, delivered virtually by Hon. Justice Dr. Jacob Gakeri, addressed crucial issues surrounding the validity of the CBA and the procedural hurdles encountered in its registration.


The dispute centered around UASU's motion seeking the court's registration of the internal CBA with Egerton University, dated March 2, 2020. UASU argued that the negotiations leading to the agreement were comprehensive, fair, and had the best interests of its members at heart.

UASU's Claims:

UASU contended that it had submitted the CBA to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in April 2021 and was surprised by the Ministry's failure to forward it to the court for registration. The union emphasized that the refusal to register the CBA violated its members' constitutional rights, particularly their right to fair labor practices.

Response from the Ministry:

The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, an interested party in the case, raised objections, citing non-compliance with established procedures. They argued that the CBA had not been analyzed to ensure alignment with wage guidelines and other employment conditions. Additionally, the Ministry asserted that, as per guidelines, all CBAs relating to public sector employees should be advised by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) before being submitted for registration.

The Court's Determination:

Justice Gakeri delved into the legal intricacies surrounding the registration of CBAs. The court ruled that, based on the Labour Relations Act of 2007, a CBA becomes enforceable and implementable only upon registration. Furthermore, the court emphasized that a CBA must comply with guidelines and directives issued by the relevant authorities.

Key Findings:

  • The court concluded that there was an agreement between UASU and Egerton University but emphasized the importance of registration to make it enforceable.

  • The failure to obtain clearance from the SRC rendered the CBA unregistrable, and the court noted the contradictory actions of UASU and Egerton University in submitting the agreement before obtaining SRC's approval.

Implications and Precedent:

The ruling reinforces the pivotal role of the SRC in advising on public sector CBAs and the binding nature of such advice. It sets a precedent for adherence to procedural requirements, ensuring that all relevant approvals are obtained before submitting CBAs for registration.


The UASU vs. Egerton University case highlights the legal intricacies involved in registering Collective Bargaining Agreements. It emphasizes the importance of compliance with established procedures, ensuring that all parties follow due process to protect the rights of employees and maintain industrial harmony.