Social dialogue is a term used to define the nature of discussions that take place between representative employer organisations, worker organisations and governments, particularly as they relate to labour and social policy debates both within the ILO and at national level. This tripartite model has guided the working methods and governance of the ILO since its inception.
The strength of social dialogue rests in the representativity of the organisations of workers and employers to engage with government and each other on behalf of a legitimate constituency, i.e. their members. Nowadays, some question that "exclusivity". Other actors in society also seek to have their voice heard.
Employers do not object to others contributing to national debates, but many such voices do not have the representative legitimacy of the traditional actors, and who these voices speak for is not often very clear. Such inclusion should not be at the expense of social dialogue.
Social dialogue allows for consensus-building, giving governments real social actors to engage with that have the legitimacy to take decisions
In recent years, the need for such consensus-building in the face of economic and social change has increased. This has led to the establishment of more regular and deeper conversation between FKE, the Government of Kenya and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU). Sound industrial relations and effective social dialogue are a means to promote a better business environment, create jobs, promote better wages and working conditions as well as peace and social justice.