Labour court declares ongoing health workers strike illegal

By Kevin Wachira.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has directed striking doctors to resume operations terming the ongoing industrial strife as illegal. 

Justice Hellen Wasilwa directed the parties in the dispute to appear before her on Monday for further direction even as Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist union and the Kenya National Union of Nurses directed their members to stay away from Office.

Kenya Medics Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary-General Ouma Oluga led other union leaders to Milimani High Court where an application filed by the council of governors was being determined.

High Court Judge Hellen Wasilwa’s ruling the ongoing strike illegal and directed the unions to call off the strike, a ruling that the doctors and the nurses’ unions however dismissed, terming it as misrepresented arguing that it was based on a strike notice dated 10th October yet the actual strike notice was issued on 12th November 2016.

The union representatives said they will not relent in their quest to have the salary agreement implemented.

Both KMPDU and Kenya National Union of Nurses declared that the strike is still on urging their members to ignore the court orders.

The health workers are demanding that the government sign and implement a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed three years ago to improve their pay and working conditions.

But as the health crisis continues to bite across the country, Longisa County referral Hospital in Bomet County has been in operation since the strike began.

The facility has however, had an influx of patients from other counties an issue that has seen Doctors and other health workers at the facility receive threats.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto who yesterday signed of a Collective Bargain Agreement with health workers in Bomet County called for dialogue in resolving health crisis.

This even as the council of governors called on the striking health workers to resume duty.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour has now moved in an effort to end the ongoing health workers strike.

Labour Cabinet secretary Phyllis Kandie met leaders of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union over the doctors’ strike and will on Wednesday meet the ministry of health officials as she tries to arbitrate on the CBA talks stalemate.