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Kenyatta Hospital staff threaten to go on strike over stalled agreement

Monday, May 13th, 2024 02:17 | By
KUDHEIHA SG Albert Njeru (centre) accompanied by Kenya National Hospital staff members during a press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Benard Malonza
KUDHEIHA SG Albert Njeru (centre) accompanied by Kenya National Hospital staff members during a press briefing in Nairobi. PHOTO/Benard Malonza

Kenyatta National Hospital employees have issued a strike notice over the stalled talks on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which was to kick off in 2021.

The employees have threatened to go on strike if the management and board of the hospital does not conclude the talks within five days.

The National Executive Board of Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital (KUDHEIHA) Workers met on April 15, 2024 and unanimously resolved to issue a 21-day strike notice to the Ministry of Labour and the KNH Board and Management.

“The reason for the strike notice is due to failure to negotiate the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) cycle as per section 57 of the Labour Relations Act, 2007, and the signing and registration of the document as per Section 60 of the Labour Relations Act, 2007,” said Union Secretary General, Albert Njeru during a press conference in the weekend.

Strike resumption

The Union says since January 2023, the Management of KNH has been promising and claiming to be in regular touch with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on the same but no fruitful results have been forthcoming in spite of the workers being patient.

“We therefore regret to inform you that by 13th May, 2024, if there will be no positive results on conclusion of the CBA, all our members will put down their working tools,” cautioned Njeru.

However, the Ministry of Labour sensing danger, moved to pre-empt the strike in a letter dated April 29, 2024, a week to the strike resumption.

Then, in response, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, appointed Artlibert Makori from the Labour office to assist the parties in resolving the issue amicably through a consultative dialogue.

The Ministry asked the Union to suspend the strike notice on the basis of the law, and await the outcome of the envisaged consultations, as the dispute resolution mechanism had already been set in motion. “As provided by the law, the Union is required to immediately suspend the strike notice and await the outcome of the envisaged consultations, as the dispute resolution mechanism has already been set in motion,” R.A.O Litaba acting for the Chief Industrial Relations Officer wrote on April 29, 2024 in a letter to KUDHEIHA SG, KNH Chief Executive Officer. The same letter was copied to the COTU Secretary General, Francis Atwoli, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and Makori at Headquarters Labour Office.

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