The Labour court has ordered Meru healthcare workers to immediately call off their strike until a case filed by the devolved unit is heard and determined.
Justice Njagi Marete sitting in Nyeri ordered the health workers, who downed their tools on Thursday, to resume work and continue offering services at their respective work stations.
The judge also issued an injunction restraining the workers or their respective union officials from engaging in any activity or convening meetings intended at calling for industrial action until the case is finalised.
Justice Marete directed the county government to serve the officials from the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) with the suit papers by the end of Friday.
The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco), Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists (Knupt) and Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (Knumlo) are also enjoined in the case and expected to respond in seven days.
Justice Marete certified as urgent the application filed by lawyer Kiogora Mugambi, who wants the strike declared illegal and fixed the inter parties hearing for November 25.
The lawyer claims that the health workers issued a seven-day strike notice dated November 5, 2020, but was only served to the executive on November 11, a day before the intended industrial action.
Mr Mugambi argues that the strike notice, at a time when the country was combating coronavirus, portrayed the medics as insensitive and not in touch with the reality.
“Medics are involved in provision of essential services and their said illegal action will lead to interruption of health services in Meru County and endanger the lives and the health of the population and have other catastrophic ramifications,” he said.
The medics are protesting over delayed September and October salaries and failure by the county government to promote them starting from August as agreed.
Meru Health Chief Officer James Kirimi said they had planned to effect the promotions but the funds sent to the county for the exercise had been reduced by Sh63 million.
He says that the two parties had on July 28, this year, reached an agreement to kick off a conciliation process to iron out the issues but the medics walked out.
In an affidavit, Dr Kirimi said the promotions would be considered in the 2021/2022 financial year budget.
“The county has not yet received disbursements for the months of September and October 2020,” he says.