Meru doctors return to work after court order against strike

Meru health workers

Health workers are pictured outside the Meru County officers on February 21, 2017, when they threatened to strike over allowances.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, Clinical officers and pharmaceutical technologists downed their tools on Thursday for reasons including salary delays.
  • Health chief officer James Kirimi said Meru is unable to implement the agreement on promotions as the exchequer cut its funding by Sh63 million.

Health workers in Meru County returned to work on Sunday after the Labour court in Nyeri ordered them to call off a strike.

Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, Clinical officers and pharmaceutical technologists downed their tools on Thursday over delayed salaries and the county’s failure to effect promotions and grant health workers for study leave.

The county and the health workers entered an agreement in July for promotions to be implemented by the end of August and for an end to salary and statutory deduction delays.

Following the strike, the county turned to court, saying it was illegal.

The county, governed by Mr Kiraitu Murungi, urged the court to bar the health workers from taking part in any activities and meetings in contemplation of a strike, industrial action and/or withdrawal of health services.

The court ordered the health workers to return to work pending hearing and determination of the case.

No funding

Health chief officer James Kirimi said Meru is unable to implement the agreement on promotions as the exchequer cut its funding by Sh63 million.

“The county is yet to receive disbursements for September and October. The county intends to budget for the extra common cadre promotions in the 2021/2022 financial year,” Dr Kirimi stated in an affidavit.

He added that study leave approvals were suspended due to an acute shortage of health workers.

In a letter suspending the strike, union officials directed all workers to resume work no later than Sunday evening.

They are the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists (Knupt),Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) and the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

dmuchuike@nationmedia.com

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