Authorities of the doctors and nurses unions risk a six-month jail term for neglecting to follow court orders issued a week ago temporarily suspending their strike pending the hearing of an application filed by the Council of Governors (CoG), according to the Nation.
The orders had been issued in an urgent application filed by CoG, which had indicated that the job boycott called by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) and the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), is illegal because labour laws have been breached.
Judge Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Court on Wednesday (7/12/16) directed the Kilimani police chief to assist in having the medical officials presented in court to explain why they should not be committed to civil jail.
The judge gave the directions after CoG returned to court, arguing that the two unions have defied last week’s orders, though they had been duly notified.
“No one is above the law and it is essential that court orders are obeyed for maintenance of good order and the dignity of the court,” CoG lawyers said.
Doctors and nurses kicked of the nationwide strike after talks called by the Health ministry collapsed on Sunday.
KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga had on Saturday reiterated that the strike would be inevitable.
“Kenyans should not expect any emergency services in hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). We have been patient since 2013 when we signed the negotiated CBA after three years but we are yet to benefit from it,” Mr Oluga said.
Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu said the strike notice by KNUN and KMPDU was premature as the 90 days the court had given medics and the State to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement had not yet elapsed.
According to demands by KMPDU, doctors want a 300 per cent salary increment as the CBA signed in 2013 stipulates.
This should see the lowest paid doctor pocket Sh342,000 and the highest pocket slightly over Sh940,000 away from the current remuneration of Sh500,000 for the highest paid and Sh40,000 for the lowest paid.