April 23, 2018

Health workers issue strike notice, no end in sight to dons’ industrial action

Clinical officers have issued a 28-day strike notice on Wednesday (11/4/18).

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) indicated workers will down their tools over a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiation stalemate with the Government.

“The union submitted the draft CBA in November 2017 as agreed upon in last year’s return to work formula. For the past four months the Government has always fallen short of quorum during the negotiation meetings. They have further indicated they are not willing to negotiate on the disputed clauses unless the union accepts their position. As a union we view this as a tactic aimed at demoralizing us,” said the union’s Secretary General George Gibore.

Addressing the press in Nairobi, Mr Gibore accused the State of turning a blind eye to clinical officers’ woes.

According to Gibore, relevant authorities in Government failed to meet the quorum while on the negotiating table leading to postponement of the meetings.

“On Tuesday, Government [officials] indicated that they will not negotiate on some disputed clauses unless the union accepts their position, which has resulted in a stalemate,” Gibore said.

Gibore, however, pointed out that the union is still available for negation within the 28 days to avert industrial action.

“What we are demanding for is equipping of facilities in the hospitals and the Government to further address the understaffing problem faced in the hospitals. We are also asking for internship payment for our students as provided for in the labour laws.

“We urge the Government to put a key interest in the health sector if we are to achieve Universal Health Care as indicated in the Government’s Big Four agenda,” the union boss added.

KUCO chairman Peterson Wachira accused the State of intimidating and arm-twisting members of the union.

“They have given these invitations for far too long. If it is a strike they want, we will go on strike after the 28 days,” Wachira reiterated.

The strike notice comes a day after lecturers warned of a protracted battle with the Government over the failed 2017-21 CBA negotiations.

They vowed to continue with the industrial action until a deal is reached.

The strike enters its 43rd day today. It has disrupted learning in 31 public universities.

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