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KMPDU defies court order, declares health workers strike

Despite a recent ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) have declared their intention to proceed with a planned strike, a move that could plunge the healthcare sector into uncertainty.

The KMPDU Secretary-General, Davji Atellah, stood firm in their decision to strike, brushing aside the court’s order issued on March 13, which sought to halt the industrial action pending further negotiations.

Principal Judge Byram Ongaya, in his ruling, emphasized the need for dialogue and urged the Ministry of Labour and Social Services to facilitate discussions between the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Susan Nakhumiha, and the striking doctors to address their grievances.

However, Atellah swiftly rebuffed the court’s directive, asserting that they have a moral obligation to challenge what they perceive as unjust laws.

“Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that the contrary perpetuates injustice,” Atellah said.

Encouraging medical practitioners nationwide to stand in solidarity, Atellah urged them to adhere to the strike call, emphasising that the demands outlined by KMPDU, particularly regarding the implementation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), are non-negotiable.

“We must stay united and listen to one voice at this time. The voice of the union, the voice of KMPDU. The demands outlined in our strike notice are well known to the employers, and they are quite basic. CBA must be fully implemented,” he emphasized.

In another statement released on X,  Atellah expressed disappointment over the lack of progress since the union announced the nationwide strike, citing what he described as a lack of commitment from the government side as the chief reason for proceeding with the strike.

“It is sad that despite our readiness for meetings at the Ministry of Health, there has been no significant progress to report. As our strike notice expires at midnight tomorrow, our industrial action will commence,” he said.

He emphasised the union’s commitment to prioritizing both healthcare workers and patients, envisioning a healthcare system where their needs are paramount.

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