• May 22, 2024
  • Last Update May 22, 2024 12:28 PM
  • Nairobi

Doctors take to the streets demanding collective bargaining despite Kindiki warning

Doctors take to the streets demanding collective bargaining despite Kindiki warning

Nairobi,
Tuesday, 9 April, 2024
McCreadie Andias

Doctors and other medical practitioners defied orders issued by Interior CS Kindiki and stage their peaceful protest towards Ministry of Health Office, Upper Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

CS Kindiki had earlier today banned the KMPDU-led doctors’ strike, citing a court order, and instructed strict enforcement to safeguard non-striking medical professionals.

In a terse statement on Tuesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki termed the industrial action by the health workers illegal for defying a court order to go back to work.

“It is noted with grave concern that the participants in the industrial action by health workers continue to defy the aforesaid court order and to intimidate and threaten violence against health workers who have opted not to participate in the unlawful strike” he said.

“Gatherings, protests or whatever other action(s) in pursuit of grievances outside the law and in breach of court directives undermines the constitutional order of the Country and are, therefore, not permissible” he stated.

The notice came in the wake of a strike notice by three more health unions.

Public Health Officers, Nutritionists and Pharmaceutical Technologists had announced the commencement of an indefinite strike beginning Tuesday, April 9 with planned peaceful demonstrations across the country.

“We, the united bodies of the Kenya Environmental Health and Public Health Practitioners Union (KEHPHPU), the Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists (KNUPT), and the Kenya Union of Nutritionists and Dieticians (KUNAD), with a heavy heart, announce the commencement of an indefinite strike action starting today, 9th April 2024″ the union officials had alerted.

They regretted that their strike notice had been ignored.

” We provided a seven (7) day ultimatum to the Ministry of Health and County Governments to address our longstanding grievances. Regrettably, this period has lapsed without any substantive action or satisfactory response from the concerned authorities” they said.

Kindiki further accused the medics of intimidating and threatening their colleagues who have refused to join the strike.

“The participants in the unlawful industrial action have repeatedly threatened to disrupt service delivery in health institutions, to interfere with the daily activities of the non-participating health workers and to undermine public order generally” he added.

On April 3, 2024, the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered parties in the ongoing industrial dispute to engage in conciliation and negotiation proceedings within 14 days and thereafter file in court a memorandum of understanding on minimum service guarantees in public health institutions.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) Tuesday rallied medical students and interns for nationwide protests.

Clinical officers and Healthcare workers hired by the government under the Universal Healthcare programme have also staged demonstrations demanding better terms.

During the protests today, KMPDU chair Dr Devji atellah reaffirmed that the protests were demanding of collective bargaining.

“Today, we reaffirm the necessity of our strike action in support of collective bargaining. Without the fundamental right to strike, collective bargaining loses its potency and becomes nothing more than collective begging.” Atellah said.

“However, by standing together, united in our cause, we wield the power to challenge injustice and demand the respect and dignity that we rightfully deserve.

Let us remain steadfast in our resolve until our voices are heard, and our demands for fair treatment and better working conditions are met.”He added.

The government insists it has no money to meet the medics’ salary demands.

Seemingly like a purge to the doctors strike, KUTRRH has hired five foreign doctors to cover the gap left by striking doctors with over 100 striking doctors served with dismissal and suspension letters.

The Azimio coalition has issued a stark ultimatum, threatening street protests demanding decisive action on the healthcare crisis and the immediate resignation of Health CS Dr. Susan Nakhumicha.

Meanwhile, The government insists it has no money to meet the medics’ salary demands.

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