Governors to withhold pay, hire new health staff

December 16, 2013 3:45 pm
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The council termed the strike illegal saying all those who did not report to work since the issuance of the court order on December 11 will be treated as having absconded duty by both the National and County Governments/MIKE KARIUKI
The council termed the strike illegal saying all those who did not report to work since the issuance of the court order on December 11 will be treated as having absconded duty by both the National and County Governments/MAGARA FELIX

, NAIROBI Kenya, Dec 16 – The Council of Governors has categorically stated that all health personnel who did not report for duty after a court order will not earn salaries for days they boycotted work.

The council termed the strike illegal saying all those who did not report to work since the issuance of the court order on December 11 will be treated as having absconded duty by both the National and County Governments.
Addressing the media on Monday, the Council Chairman Isaac Ruto said that County Governments were already putting in place mechanisms to hire fresh health personnel to offer services in the counties.

“All those who would want to work with County Governments are encouraged to apply for the positions that will be advertised,” he stated.

He appealed to members of the public to apply for the positions.

“The demands being made by health workers are not related to labour relations but rather to constitutional matters which calls for a constitutional amendment,” he stated.

He pointed out that, “According to Section 138 of County Government Act, the terms and conditions of service of health workers are safeguard and cannot be altered to their disadvantage but can only be improved.”

Section 138 of the Constitution states that, “Any public officer appointed by the Public Service Commission in exercise of its constitutional powers and functions before the coming to effect of this Act and is serving in a county on the date of the constitution of that county government shall be deemed to be in the service of the county government on secondment from national government with their terms of service as at that date.”

Clause 1(a) of the section further states that, “the officer’s term of service including remuneration, allowances and pension or other benefits shall not be altered to the officer’s disadvantage.”

“We cannot reverse gains of devolution as provided for in the Constitution or law through an illegal strike,” he added.

He said that most health workers were scared of supervision likely to occur under county governments unlike in their previous status.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) Secretary General however said they were not intimidated by Governors’ move.

He maintained that despite the decision reached by governors, the health workers were going to push on, until their concerns were addressed.

During the media brief, the Cabinet Secretary for health James Macharia accused health workers of frustrating Government efforts to solve their issues long before the strike.

He said that already the Government had drafted a health policy which has also been presented to the health unions awaiting their input.

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