Go back to work or face the sack, governors tells striking medics

Written By: Margaret Kalekye

COG Chair Wycliffe Oparanya says the strike by healthcare workers unions is unlawful.

Governors have declared that they will go ahead and sack all striking health workers if they do not return to work immediately.

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Speaking during a breakfast meeting with editors, the county bosses said they will circulate names of employees terminated on account of indiscipline to ensure they are not considered for subsequent employment in other counties.

“Any worker who absconds duty will be dealt with in accordance with the law. No worker will be expected to walk out and back of their jobs when they do so wish. Counties are not revolving doors” a tough speaking Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya warned.

The bare-knuckle statement comes even as the Council of Governors made it clear that the demands by medics coming after the implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2017 that has a Ksh5B budget implication annually are not attainable.

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Oparanya termed the industrial action as illegal as it is not protected by law.

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“ We are concerned by the union’s decision to undertake the industrial action that has persisted for one month despite the pandemic and court orders. We consider this action against the right to life and highest attainable standards of health care as guaranteed in the constitution” said Oparanya.

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He said the workers should have called off the strike that has persisted for over a month pending the outcome of conciliation talks spearheaded by ministries of Labour and Health.

In most counties, up to four of the 17 cadres of health workers have downed their tools paralysing health services in public hospitals.

Even though the governors agree with some of the provisions contained in Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Oparanya maintained that the County governments were not consulted and had not signed the same.

He said any increment must be approved by the Salaries Remuneration Commission and National Treasury warning that counties will not commit to anything that is not factored in their budgets.

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“Increase in any allowance has a budget implication in the budget and requires authorisation form approval by SRC and commitment by national treasury that will provide the resources to the county governments..Counties shall not commit to any allowance not factored in their budget because this will be a trigger for the future in unrest because they will not be able to implement” he added.

He urged the unions to engage with their respective governors.

“We are not opposed to a social dialogue but let the unions engage with respective counties” he said.

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