Labour court orders KNH workers to return to work pending hearing of case filed by hospital

Labour court orders KNH workers to return to work pending hearing of case filed by ...
Workers at the Kenyatta National Hospital downed tools on Monday, protesting SRC's failure to implement 2012's salary review. Photo:Eric Omondi.

The Employement and Labour Relations Court of Kenya has suspended the Kenyatta National Hospital workers’ strike that entered its day 2 on Tuesday.

Lady Justice Maureen Onyango ordered the suspension of the go-slow until a case filed by KNH is heard and determined.

The inter partes hearing for the application will be on October 6.

KNH had in statement issued on Tuesday asked the worker’s unions to come to the table with the view of finding an amicable solution to the impasse.

Services at Kenya’s largest public hospital came to a standstill on on Monday and Tuesday with desperate patients being forced to seek help elsewhere.

On Monday, health workers – including doctors, nurses and members of other unions outside the health profession – went on strike accusing the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) of failing to implement a dispute resolution concerning re-categorization of their salaries.

In 2012 the state corporation advisory committee evaluated all parastatals in the country including referral hospitals such as KNH which they upgraded from level 3B to 7A, consequently elevating all the 7000 employees to a different salary scale.

In 2019, the hospital’s management board approached Treasury seeking funds to implement the new salary figures for the health workers. Treasury set aside Ksh.2.4 billion and handed over Ksh.601 million to KNH early this year.

In the re-categorization process, salary scales for all job categories were factored in and improved, for instance those in job group K1 earning slightly over Ksh.191,000 would now earn a minimum of Ksh.318,566

Those in job group K3 earning slightly above Ksh.141,000 would now earn a minimum of Ksh.211,793 while those in job group K13 earning Ksh.23,810 were now entitled to a minimum salary of Ksh.27,509.

The SRC has however since put breaks on the implementation process saying the re-categorization was only meant to move the hospital to a higher category but did not involve any salary review.

In a letter dated September 2, 2020, which was received on September 16 by KNH, the commission informed Dr. Evanson Kamuri, the hospital’s CEO, to halt the salary review process saying that only SRC is mandated to review salaries for public officers.

The healthcare workers are now demanding that the hospital implements the salary review for all employees working in the facility as approved by the state advisory committee through a letter dated September 13, 2012 within seven days failure to which all employees represented by the unions will commence a strike on September 28, 2020.

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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