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Patients’ anguish as medics strike over payment arrears

Health & Science - By James Omoro | November 5th 2019 at 12:40:45 GMT +0300

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers in Homa Bay branch officials address journalists at Homa Bay County Referral Hospital on November 4, 2019. They include union treasurer Felix Ouko (left), chairman Steve Omondi (centre) and secretary Philip Mbom (right). [James Omoro, Standard]

Health services in Homa Bay County have been affected after Clinical Officers went on strike.

The medics, registered under Kenya Union of Clinical Officers are protesting failure by the county government to remit their union dues amounting to Sh563, 000.

They claimed the county was also not remitting their loan repayments and other statutory deductions.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday, the union Chairman Steve Omondi, Secretary Philip Mbom, and Treasurer Felix Ouko said the county government had deducted the union dues from their salaries for more than seven months but it has not been remitting the money.

“Since October last year, we have received only Sh46,000 yet our members’ salaries are deducted for the same. This means they owe us Sh563, 000 which was deducted from our salaries,” said Ouko.

Mbom accused their employer of not remitting other statutory deductions for about three consecutive months. The deductions include bank loans and medical cover taken by the clinical officers.

“Life is becoming unbearable for us because we cannot acquire the health services due to failure by the employer to remit our statutory deductions. Some of us also risk losing their property through auction,” said Mbom said.

He complained of failure by their employer to promote clinical officers compared to other government workers.

“We have colleagues who have served for over ten years but they have not been promoted. Promotion is one of the requirements which need to be done by our employer,” said Mbom.

The medics also supported the national strike which was declared by the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers last Friday. The National office wants the Government to sign a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Government and the Council of Governors.

Mbom said none of the 300 clinical officers employed in all public hospitals in the county will report on duty until their grievances are addressed.

The County Executive Committee Member for Health Richard Muga said they were addressing the medics’ grievances.

He said he had liaised with the county finance department to address the medics’ complaints on the statutory deductions.

“The finance department is handling the issue on statutory deductions. The issue on promotion is also being dealt with,” Prof Muga said.

Prof Muga told the medics to resume duty as their grievances were being solved.

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