Court temporarily halts health workers’ strike

December 11, 2013 7:25 pm
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Unions representing health workers on Tuesday however maintained that they will not call off their strike until the government heeds their demands/FILE
Unions representing health workers on Tuesday however maintained that they will not call off their strike until the government heeds their demands/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The High Court has issued an order stopping the ongoing strike by health workers who are protesting a move by the Transition Authority to devolve heath services to counties.

Justice David Majanja on Wednesday evening prohibited the health workers from continuing with the strike following an urgent application by the Attorney General.

Majanja issued the order sought against the unions representing health workers.

The court order will remain in force until December 16 when the case will be heard before the Industrial Court.

According to the chief government legal advisor, the ongoing strike is illegal because health services are essential under the Fourth Schedule.

Unions representing health workers on Tuesday however maintained that they will not call off their strike until the government heeds their demands.

Officials however acknowledged that they were ready to continue with negotiations with the government in a bid to resolve the contentious issues on devolving health services.

Operations at most public hospitals remained paralysed countrywide, after health workers downed tools to protest devolution of their pay to counties.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako said all heath workers would remain on strike until the outstanding issues were resolved.

“We are not asking anything out of the extraordinary. What we are asking is within the law,” he stated.

He added: “We are asking that our personnel emoluments to remain under the National Government.”

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary General Sultani Matendechero however, said staff at the Kenyatta National Hospital, were not participating in the mass action.

“The national hospitals will continue running because there is nothing we are complaining about there. However, the problem that we are starting to see is that our people in the national hospitals have started complaining. As we speak there is a meeting at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. The people there are saying that they want to down their tools because the workload is becoming too much,” he stated.

Institutions affected included the Coast Provincial General Hospital, Embu Provincial General Hospital as well as other hospitals upcountry where nurses, doctors and clinical officers kept away from work.

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