31 December 2012

Kenya: Court Stops Sacking of Striking Nurses

STRIKING nurses will today present court orders to government, barring their sacking. On Friday, the health workers obtained orders, following threats from government to terminate their employment, on claims of absenteeism from work and participating in an unlawful strike.

They have been on a standoff since December 3, demanding among others, registration of the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

Speaking yesterday on phone, KNUN secretary general, Seth Panyako hailed the court's decision to compel the government to register the union.

"We now know that workers and poor Kenyans have the judiciary to look up to," he said. He expressed optimism that the Labour ministry will issue them with the registration certificate on Wednesday, a position he said will end the four-week long strike.

There has been a war of words between the National Labour Board and KNUN, with the former insisting that nurses do not need a trade union, as they are adequately represented.

Nurses currently remit their monthly contributions to the Union of Kenya Civil Servants, which they say is an amorphous body that does not represent their plights.

Services in public hospitals have adversely been hampered, with unconfirmed casualties being reported, especially in Western, Nyanza and the Coast regions. In Friday's ruling, Industrial Court judge, Njagi Marete said that nurses have a constitutional right to go on strike.

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