Kenya: UASU-Affiliated Health Science Lecturers Issue Strike Notice Over Unpaid Allowances

8 September 2020

Nairobi — The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) has issued a seven-day strike notice to University of Nairobi, College of Health Sciences over withheld clinical allowances for lecturer doctors teaching intern doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday health science lecturers have already started withdrawing teaching services, a situation which may delay the planned graduation of intern doctors and specialists this year.

"The objective of the withdrawal of services is to fight for the immediate and unconditionally reinstatement of the Clinical Allowances whose payment was stopped unilaterally by the University of Nairobi in complete disregard of employment and labour laws," he said.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama had, over the weekend, stopped the payment of lecturers' clinical allowances based on a list submitted to him by the Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer.

Nonetheless, UASU termed the withdrawal of allowances as erroneous noting that the disbursement of allowances to select individuals was unjust.

"The unions have now seen the list, and it is a very troubling document. The list contains doctors who died a long time ago and some who already left service; while excluding those who are currently in active service," the statement read in part.

"While the academic staff respect KNH as an important partner in the training of doctors, we consider it unlawful and mischievous for our employer, the University of Nairobi, to stop payments based on an unverified list from KNH," Wasonga added.

He further protested what he termed as discrimination and disrespect of academic staff in the University of Nairobi further calling for the resignation of the institution's Vice Chancellor pending an investigation in relation to the withdrawal of the said allowances.

"We further demand that the Vice Chancellor engage academic staff directly at the College of Health Sciences rather than through the Press or through letters from KNH, our sister organization, Staff at CHS are ready to discuss any emerging issues that affect the college and are ready to resolve them," he added.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Acting Secretary General Chibanzi Mwachonda, who was also present, further faulted the university's for failing to provide lecturer doctors with a medical cover, compensation and protective gear that will shield them from contracting coronavirus.

"If medical cover, compensation and the provision of protective gear to the lecturer doctor is not assured, then even the plan to bring back final year medical students will not work," Mwachonda stated.

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