Striking nurses follow proceedings of their case at Nairobi Law Courts on Tuesday. [Photo: Evans Habil/Standard]
By Isaiah Lucheli
NAIROBI, KENYA: Striking nurses are set to return to work after their unregistered union officials committed to end mass action.
Union officials through lawyer Maranga Maosa took an undertaking in court to ensure that all nurses heed a court order that had termed the strike illegal and ordered them to resume work immediately.
The nurses, however, expressed concern before Industrial Court Judge Nduma Nderi that the Government had interdicted, transferred and even written warning letters to nurses and prayed that the court summon the Attorney General to give a clear position on the matter.
“The petitioners (nurses) want the matter disposed of expeditiously but we want it mentioned before the hearing commences so that the respondent (AG) can assure nurses of a level playing ground. He has to clear the air over the sackings, interdiction and transfers,” said Maosa.
The judge issued an order that the nurses resume work and directed that the matter be mentioned this Friday. The AG is expected to address claims that some of the workers had been victimised for participating in the strike.
Operations in public health facilities have grounded from December 3, last year after nurses went on strike agitating for registration of their union. This is after Registrar of Trade Unions declined to register Kenya National Union of Nurses.
The decision by nurses was arrived at after the court session was adjourned for over 15 minutes to give the union officials and their lawyer time to agree on the way forward for the suit after the judge reminded them that they had defied a court order.
Chaos and anarchy
Nderi told nurses that there was no way the court could hear a petition they had filed in the court whereas they were still on strike.
“Labour Relations Act clearly stipulates the procedure to be followed if a party feels aggrieved by the decision of the registrar. You have to comply with that provision. If parties had to choose which orders to comply with and which one not to, this would lead to chaos and anarchy,” said the judge.