NMS gets court order stopping health workers' strike - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 6 November 2020

NMS gets court order stopping health workers' strike


The Nairobi Metropolitan Services secured a court order on Wednesday stopping the strike by health workers.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended the strike by workers under the Kenyan National Union of nurses, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers and three other unions after the NMS filed an application before Justice Maureen Onyango.

Justice Onyango ordered that the matter be heard inter parties on November 11, 2020, alongside a similar case involving the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union against the NMS.

The workers proceeded on strike Monday, paralysing services at major public health facilities. They protested against delayed promotions and redesignation and accused the NMS of violating their collective bargaining agreement.

Soon after the court issued the order, they agreed to comply on condition their grievances will be addressed.

Tom Nyakaba, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary for Nairobi and the secretary Health Caucus in the city, however, added that their return-to-work formula with the employer has to implemented before they resume work.

“We are not going back this time without our return-to-work formula implemented fully and we are not begging. This is our right,” he said.

The health workers cautioned against being dragged into the wrangles between the NMS and the county government.

“The other day we had a meeting with the NMS and they were telling us part of the reasons they are not implementing our return-to-work agreement is that some of them do not have files,” said Brown Ashira, the branch secretary for the Kenya Health Professionals Society, Nairobi.

City Hall has been faulted for failing to hand important documents, including of contracts of the transferred functions to the NMS.

However, NMS Director of Health Services Josephine Mbae told the Star that all eligible promotions for doctors had been effected and doctors also paid millions of shillings in arrears in August and September.

She said the issue of promotion was an ongoing process and more health workers will receive their letters.

“Other health workers are being promoted every month. So far, about 100 have received their letters. This is an ongoing activity until all eligible staff are promoted,” Dr Mbae said.

She said they have tried to implement the return-to-work formula, which includes promotions and medical cover.

Mbae, however, added that the county government had procured AAR insurance for all county staff, hence, it was impossible for the health workers to get another cover under the NMS.

“As NMS, we wanted to put all seconded health workers under the NHIF but we were told we could not procure another health cover as the county had already moved with AAR,” Dr Mbae said.

In August 2020, the NMS said officials had started engaging the NHIF on the comprehensive medical cover issue and pledged it would be sorted out within the month.

"We have already received a proposal from the NHIF and our human resource department is looking at what is required. This is work in progress," NMS deputy director general Robinson Thuku said.

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