KNH-health unions court battle set for Tuesday

The standoff between the Kenyatta National Hospital and three health unions is slated for hearing at a Nairobi court on Tuesday.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended the KNH strike last week, pending the hearing of a case filed by the hospital. This is after KNH’s application was certified as urgent.

KNH workers had gone on strike, accusing the hospital of failing to effect salary increments.

“The strike notice by the respondent calling for a general strike or lockout with respect to any category of staff in the employment of the Kenyatta National Hospital is hereby suspended and or stayed pending inter-parties hearing of the application herein,” the court order read in part.

The health workers heeded a court order and suspended their strike on Wednesday.

The workers are members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union, the Kenya National Union of Nurses and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers.

“I want to get as many of you as possible to attend court on Tuesday to hear what they say about our money,” KMPDU acting secretary general Chibanzi Mwachonda told the health workers on Wednesday.

“By obeying court orders does not mean that we are scared but we are just saying we will give them that chance. When we go to court and we get what is just to us, then even SRC shall not stop it,” Mwachonda added.

The health workers at the facility downed their tools on September 28 over what they termed as failure by the hospital management and other stakeholder to implement the agreed salary review.

In 2012, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission re-categorised KNH into a PC 7A category, which was to come with an increment in salaries of workers.

The employer will part with Sh2.4 billion annually, if the management accedes to their demands. The monthly salaries of some of them will be doubled.

“We have agreed in one accord that we are going to look for the best lawyers in Kenya because the three unions are capable of paying. This is an agreement of 2012, so what we want are the arrears since 2012,” KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako said.

The SRC has, however, said it should not be blamed for the standoff.

In a statement on Wednesday, the commission said it undertook a job evaluation and determined the relative worth of jobs at KNH in 2017.

SRC said the industrial action at KNH was as a result of demands for pay increase outside the commission’s advice. If further noted that the workers have already benefited from salary increases for the remuneration review cycle 2017-18 to 2020-21.

Edited by EKibii

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