DEMORALISED

2,000 health workers down tools over promotions

They issued a seven-day strike notice on October 19 after what they termed lack of commitment by the ministry.

In Summary
  • They blamed their decision to withdraw services  on failure by the government to address their grievances regarding promotions and re-designation.
  • Screening and testing for Covid-19 will also be affected, posing a threat to the health and safety of many Kenyans.

Services in public health facilities are likely to be paralysed from Thursday. This is after public health workers threatened to down their tools effective midnight in what they have termed as the failure by the national government to address their grievances regarding promotions and re-designations.

Services in public health facilities are likely to be disrupted from Thursday after more than 2,000 public health workers threatened to boycott work effective midnight.

In a joint statement, their unions blamed their decision to withdraw services on failure by the national government to address their grievances regarding promotions and re-designation.

The strike will affect all port health facilities including airports, border points and all points of entry, the National Spinal Injury Hospital, Mathari Hospital, Othaya Hospital, the National Blood Bank, national public health laboratories and all other facilities served by members working under the Ministry of Health.

This means screening and testing for Covid-19 will also be affected, posing a threat to the health and safety of Kenyans.

"It is a very unfortunate moment that we are giving you such bad news. Beginning midnight, there will be no Covid-19 screening at all ports of entry," the Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers chairman Peterson Wachira said.

"We have been played in the past; we will not be played again because we are no longer babies."

Other unions involved are the Kenya National Union of Nurses, Kenya Health Professionals Society, Kenya National Union of Laboratory Officers, Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists and the Kenya Union of Nutritionists and Dieticians.

The workers had issued a seven-day strike notice on October 19 after what they termed as a lack of commitment by the ministry to come to the table and chart a way forward.

They wanted the government to ensure all officers who have stagnated in one job group for years are promoted based on individual qualifications.

They also demanded that promotions be effected based on years of stagnation.

Health unions officials led by the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers chairperson Peterson Wachira at a Nairobi Hotel on October 28, 2020/ WILFRED NYANGARESI
Health unions officials led by the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers chairperson Peterson Wachira at a Nairobi Hotel on October 28, 2020/ WILFRED NYANGARESI

For instance, there are officers in four job groups who have stagnated for more than 12 years, those in three job groups who have stagnated for nine to 11 years, while those in two job groups have stagnated for six to eight years. In one job group, they have stagnated for three to six years.

“On October 7 and 8, we wrote a demand letter to the Health CS to convene a meeting and agree on the way forward. On October 19, we issued a strike notice but they have not even called a meeting nor have we received a response,” Wachira said.

Edited by Henry Makori