4 Union officials summoned to court for contempt over nurses strike

February 18, 2019 7:34 pm
Secretary General Seth Panyako and three other officials have been ordered to appear on February 26/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – The Employment and Labour Relations Court has summoned four officials of the Kenya National Union of Nurses for contempt.

Secretary General Seth Panyako and three other officials have been ordered to appear on February 26 to show cause why they should not be punished for disobeying court orders suspending the nurses strike.

The Council of Governors had moved to the court on February 6 and obtained orders that suspended the industrial action for 60 days.

However, the nurses’ union refused to budge and declined to call off the strike that has since paralysed services in the public hospitals.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week directed the nurses to go back to work by Friday failure to which they stand sacked.

President Kenyatta who spoke following a meeting with Council of Governors (CoG) representatives led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya termed the strike illegal.

“One of the most important principles upon which our republic is established is the rule of law – no one is above the law. Obeying court orders is not optional but a requirement to all of us,” Kenyatta said while directing nurses to resume duty by 8am last Friday.

He warned the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) against intimidating health workers willing to resume duty directing the police to take decisive action against protesters obstructing those willing to work.

“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, I have instructed the National Police Service to take decisive action against those picketers who may intimidate or otherwise harass public servants who intend to go to work,” President Kenyatta ordered.

Kenyatta noted with concern the huge sums of money gobbled up in recurrent expenditure saying at least 87.3 per cent of county budgets were channelled to expenses other than capital spending.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani had on February 4 asked KNUN officials to call off a planned strike in 23 counties to provide room for dialogue.

KNUN Secretary General Panyako however dismissed Yattani’s appeal saying the strike would continue as planned.

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