Kenya: Court Orders Nyamira Officials to Promote Doctors

29 October 2020

The Labour court has ordered Nyamira county government to promote 62 doctors who are currently on strike.

The dispute between the devolved unit and the doctors became a court battle last month after the health workers moved to the corridors of justice in the renewed fight for promotion and payment of their salaries that are in arrears.

Kenya Medical Practitioners Dentists and Pharmacists Union (KMPDU) Nyanza Branch Secretary General Dr Lameck Omweri filed the petition after the two parties failed to reach an agreement to end the strike that started on September 15.

Other than promotion and payment of salaries that are in arrears since 2017, the doctors are also seeking a review of their job groups.

Judge Mathews Nderi Nduma in his ruling on Wednesday directed the county government to honour the agreement reached by the parties on August 10.

He further ordered the county government to pay doctors pending salaries according to the terms outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

"The respondent is prohibited by section 79 (2) and (3) of the Labour Relations Act (2007) from taking any punitive measures against members of the petition in any manner not permitted by the act for engaging in a lawful strike" said the judge in his ruling.

He added that, in view of the declaration of measures restricting court operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in light of the directions issued by the judge March 15, this ruling has been delivered to the parties online with their consent.

The county government had filed grounds of opposition that the application lacked any legal basis and was abuse of court process.

The devolved unit further filed a replying affidavit sworn by Jack Magara, the county chief officer, in which he argued that the parties agreed that the devolved unit would fast track the exercise of doctor's promotion.

In August, doctors in the region suspended a strike after talks between the county government and their union officials.

At the time, the two parties agreed that the 62 doctors be issued with promotion letters by August.

It was also agreed that health workers and the county government would convene regular meetings on implementation of their CBA.

Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, Dr Omweri said the union will call off the strike immediately the devolved unit will honour the court directive.

"We are ready to end the strike but after the county government has honoured the court order" said the official.

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