KNUT’s Big Win in Trade Dispute with Employer

Posted on July 15th, 2019

Friday 12th July 2019 saw a big win for the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), the largest teachers' trade union in Kenya, against the employer, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) after the Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled in favour of KNUT in a protracted trade dispute concerning teachers’ promotions, appraisal, transfers, training and union membership.

Some of the notable highlights from the Court’s decision include:

  • Headteachers, their deputies and teachers who are in management positions are unionisable and can vie for leadership positions in the union.
  • Teachers who are in leadership positions in the union should only be transferred within the same geographical location that they represent.
  • Appraisal tools should be ready by 1st December 2019, for a roll out in January 2020.
  • The Court also dismissed a promotions circular which had limited career progression to those with teachers training certificates.

TSC has indicated that would appeal the Court’s decision.

Oraro & Company Advocates’ John Mbaluto, a Partner in the dispute resolution practice group, was among the lead lawyers acting for KNUT in this matter. John has experience in advising both international and local clients on constitutional law, banking and commercial disputes, employment and labour law, and is also well regarded for advising employee associations and trade unions.

Our Dispute Resolution Heritage

Referred to as a “Dispute Resolution powerhouse”, we are well regarded for our in-depth understanding of the judicial process and our extensive experience to find innovative solutions to the most challenging problems whenever they occur. Our litigators have a long history of handling cutting-edge litigation matters, including many of the most significant disputes in the country. We are called upon to play a central role in high stakes and high profile matters in Kenya.

A tight-knit group of 16 lawyers (8 Partners, 5 Senior Associates and 4 Associates), arguably the largest dispute resolution team in Kenya, we approach each matter with intensity, thoroughness and creativity and build teams appropriate to the circumstances. We handle all aspects of contentious matters, from the strategic and tactical to the practical and procedural. We represent clients in tribunals in areas such as tax, environment, public procurements, among others.

Kosgei Kipkirui

Head of Business Development

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John Mbaluto, FCIArb

Posted on March 26th, 2018

John Mbaluto, FCIArb

Deputy Managing Partner


T: +254 709 250 000/709 250 705



John is the Deputy Managing Partner at Oraro & Company Advocates in the dispute resolution practice group. With over 13 years of experience, John has represented and advised local and international clients particularly in construction law, employment and labour law, pension law, banking and commercial disputes and constitutional law.

John has represented and advised clients in a wide variety of sectors including construction, education, financial services, Insurance and transport & logistics.

Recently, he attained qualification as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), a globally recognised standing in arbitration circles.

Additionally, John is proud to steer the firm’s publications committee which has to date successfully published 13 issues of Oraro & Company Advocates' flagship newsletter – Legal & Kenyan.

John holds an LLB from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom and a Post-graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.

"John is well regarded for his expertise in advising employee associations and trade unions."
  • Acting for a privately owned limited-by-liability company registered and incorporated in South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia that deals in construction, logistics and supply-chain services, in a domestic arbitration based on a claim by the contractor against the employer for the payment of the development costs of a university campus complex constructed by the Claimant, running into the hundreds of millions of shillings.
  • Acting for an Insurance Company in a potential claim of approximately USD 12 million for impaired assets against three insolvent companies, where it invested in notes and commercial paper.
  • Represented an electric power generation company in a constitutional case involving the competing fundamental rights and freedoms under the Bill of Rights, particularly the freedom of expression, the right to access to information, the freedom of the media and the right to privacy.
  • Part of a team acting for the County Assemblies Forum challenging a decision of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to call for the 2017 general elections (2017).
  • Part of a team representing one of the largest and longest-established private equity fund managers focused on Africa in an anti-suit injunction application where the parties are not a party to shareholders and management agreement
  • Represented Central Bank of Kenya in a case in which the petitioner sought to stop the largely popular transfer of money services provided by mobile telephone companies including Safaricom’s “M-Pesa” and “Airtel Money”.
  • Part of a team that represented the largest teachers’ trade union in a historic 2015 pay rise dispute against the teachers’ employer.

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Oraro & Company Advocates is a full-service market-leading African law firm established in 1977 with a strong focus on dispute resolution and corporate & commercial law. With a dedicated team of 10 partners, 4 senior associates, 10 associates, 1 lawyer and 36 support staff, the Firm has been consistently ranked by leading legal directories such as Chambers Global, IFLR 1000 and Legal 500 as a top-tier firm in Kenya.

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