Court Halts Homa Bay Health Workers’ Strike

by Lawyer Alex

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kisumu has ordered striking Homa Bay health workers to resume duties until a case against them is heard and determined. 

Nyanza KMPDU chairman Kevin Osuri during a salary sit-in at Homa Bay Teaching Referral Hospital on August 19, 2020

The Homa Bay government sued the medics on August 18 after they failed to return to work despite last week’s agreement with their unions. 

The health workers are represented by Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Kenya Union of Clinical Officers and Kenya National Union of Laboratory Officers. 

 Justice Mathews Nduma Nderi ordered the unions to file their responses within 14 days. 

The court also directed that if the health workers refuse to return to work, they will be in contempt of court and liable to six months’ jail terms. 

Heath executive Richard Muga said they had paid June salaries and would pay for July once they get funds from the Treasury per the agreement. 

Homa Bay KUCO secretary general Philip Mbom during a sit-in at Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital on August 19, 2020

But the more than 4,000 medics refused to return to work by Thursday when the strike entered day 17. The workers also decried a poor working environment.

On Wednesday, the medics rejected Governor Cyprian Awiti’s plea to resume work as they were looking for July salaries.

“You can’t understand an employer who blows both hot and cold. You can’t plead to the people you’ve sued in court to return to work,” Nyanza KMPDU chair Kevin Osuri said.

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