Court stops KNH workers strike


Court stops KNH workers strike
Striking KNH workers.

In Summary

  • Łabor Court Judge Maureen Onyango gave the directive pending the hearing and determination of the matter filed by the hospital.
  • Workers at the hospital on Monday staged a protest over delayed payment of their health service allowances.
  • Police officers deployed to the scene were forced to lob tear gas canisters and disperse the striking workers.

The High Court in Nairobi on Monday issued orders barring Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) workers from participating in the strike called by their union.

Employment and Łabour Relations Court Judge Maureen Onyango gave the directive pending the hearing and determination of an application by the hospital challenging the strike.

“The respondent is hereby restrained from withdrawing Labour and/or effecting a general strike with respect to any category of employees of the applicant pending inter-parties hearing of this application,” reads court order.

In its case, KNH argues that the strike will adversely affect its operations and put in jeopardy the lives of thousands of people seeking medical attention at the hospital.

The hospital submitted that the services sought to be withdrawn by the respondents include critical care and emergency services which could expose the hospital to a complete shutdown of its operations and irreparable loss and damage to the public.

In an affidavit by the hospital lawyer, KNH says that the threatened strike is without legal basis or merit.

KNH claims it has made every effort to resolve the matter including seeking the requisite approvals from the National Treasury as well as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to avert the industrial action.

Workers at the hospital on Monday staged a protest over delayed payment of their health service allowances.

Police officers deployed to the scene were forced to lob tear gas canisters to disperse the striking workers.

The said allowances were reportedly recommended by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in March 2015 but are yet to be implemented to date.

In a prior letter to the management of the hospital signed by Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) Secretary General Albert Njeru, the over 4700 workers had warned of a strike “if there will be no money by August 5.”

KNH accuses KUDHEIHA of calling its members to engage in a strike on matters which fall outside the mandate of the hospital, and can only be addressed by the SRC.

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