Health workers in Kirinyaga County have pledged to appeal a ruling by the Labour Court that declared their strike illegal.
On Thursday, Employment and Labour Relations Court Justice Nzioki wa Makau delivered the ruling that allows Governor Waiguru to institute disciplinary action against the over 750 medics.
In a statement released after the ruling, Governor Waiguru extended an olive branch to the medics saying those who return to work by 12 noon on Friday, July 5 will not be sacked.
“Medical personnel who choose to return back to work immediately will not be victimized for their past participation in the illegal strike,” said Waiguru.
She added, “the illegal strike action by the health workers has been in contempt of court orders that ordered them back to work on two previous occasions. I would like to point out that it is critical that labour activists, and more specifically KMPDU and indeed all health sector service providers, first take into account the needs of Kenya’s vulnerable citizens before considering any industrial action.
“They must also note that in instances where there may be legitimate concerns, and Kirinyaga was not the case, the default position must never be to victimize patients, nor use those in need of urgent medical intervention as pawns in their personal ambitions,” she said.
But the workers, through their four unions, said they would immediately file an appeal after perusing the ruling.
“We must move to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling which left the workers shocked,” said the Central region Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary Gor Goody.
The health workers have been on strike since May 26, 2019. Four unions: Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU); Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers and Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory called the strike on May 20.