, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Striking nurses have gone back to court seeking a review of a ruling given by Industrial Court Judge Maureen Onyango on Friday declaring their strike illegal.
Onyango ordered the nurses to go back to work as the court deliberates their petition on the registration of the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) considering they are essential service providers.
National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNK) Chairman, Jeremiah Maina, contended that proper legal procedure had not been followed in overturning of an earlier ruling given by Judge David Marete.
“We are still going back to the Industrial Court. There are still several steps to go to get to the Supreme Court so we are not done with the justice system.”
Marete had on December 28 ruled that nurses have a right to strike and to form a union calling for dialogue between them, the Ministries of Labour, Medical Services and Public Health.
Maina said the ministries snubbed the order and that only the Public Service Commission had engaged them despite numerous attempts to reach the relevant Permanent Secretaries.
“The Ministry of Labour called us for a meeting just to tell us ‘let us meet in court tomorrow.’ We had served the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Medical Services… they never took the initiative to even call.”
Onyango said the orders issued by Marete could not stand as the ministries concerned had not been given sufficient time to respond to the suit filed by the striking nurses.
“The basis of the orders on Friday is that the parties were not given a chance to be heard and we were not given a chance to be heard either because when we went on Friday we were going for a mention.” Maina explained.
The NNK chairman said they went to court on Friday expecting to give an update on the consultations Marete had called for: “You cannot go for a mention then a judge turns it to be a hearing and a judgment.”
Maina vowed the strike called by the KNUN and NNK on December 3 will not end until their demands are met: “It took 20 years to get a new Constitution; we’ve only done 34 days.”
“We never went on strike to go to court. We went on strike to have our issues addressed. It’s unfortunate that nobody will listen to us other than the court.”