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Union officials to be sentenced for role in healthcare workers’ strike

The union officials, however, have said they were not served with an order stopping the strike.

The head of a doctors’ union and other officials will tomorrow be sentenced by the labour court for their role in the nationwide strike.

Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Tuesday found Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union officials guilty of contempt and ordered them to appear in court without fail on Thursday.

“It is essential that orders are obeyed and the court will not shy away from punishing them,” Justice Wasilwa said.

She said the doctors had refused to call off the strike as directed by the court and their officials only appeared in court after being summoned, which she said were considerable grounds for contempt.

The Council of Governors urged the court to mete out the punishment immediately, but the union officials asked the judge to allow them to appeal against that ruling.

“Leave to appeal is allowed, I direct union officials to appear in court on December 22 for further directions on their punishment before the duty judge,” Justice Wasilwa said.

The court on December 1 ordered the union to call off the industrial action for 30 days to give dialogue a chance. The strike entered its third week on Monday and has paralysed service at public hospitals across the country.

Talks between the union, county and national governments have hit a deadlock.

The doctors are demanding a 300 per cent pay increase.

The union says there will be no more dialogue unless the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013 is implemented.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has sought to be enjoined in the case as an interested party.

He said the government’s interests will be prejudiced if the ministry was not allowed to be part of the proceedings.

At the same time, the County Government of Nakuru had separately sued Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital health workers for boycotting work.

Their case has also been enjoined.

Drs Samuel Obegithe, Titus Ondoro, Fredrick Oluga, Hamisi Chibanzi and Daisy Korir are the officials listed in the suit.

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