Elgeyo Marakwet medics fail to resume work as promotion fight escalates

Elgeyo Marakwet County Chief Officers (COs) picket outside the county's public service board offices on Friday. The COs have been on strike since Monday last week. [Stephen Rutto, Standard] 

Clinical Officers (COs) in the county have not rendered services for the past one week as fight over promotions escalate.

The officers yesterday threatened to continue with the strike they started on Monday until the county promotes them, claiming the last promotions were done in 2015.

They also accused governor Alex Tolgos’ administration of exploiting 16 interns attached to several hospitals by declining to pay them medical allowances.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) Elgeyo Marakwet chapter Secretary General Mark Kipsang and chairman Martin Lokalis said all 98 COs working in the county will defy sacking threats issued by senior health officials and stay out of health facilities.

SEE ALSO :Patients’ anguish as medics strike over payment arrears

Mr Kipsang claimed the money had been allocated for payment of intern COs during the county’s 2019/2020 budget but the interns are not receiving the dues.

“We have not gone to work since Monday (last week) but we are surprised that the county government is still not listening to our demands. We are telling the county that we will not resume work until promotions and re-designations are effected,” Kipsang warned.

The secretary asked the county government to ratify a 2014 schemes of work for COs, which he says would improve the welfare of the officers.

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The unionist demanded implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2017 before they return to work.

He also cited a move by the county to allegedly disregard efforts by diploma holder COs who have advanced their education while in service.

SEE ALSO :No solution yet as medics strike in Elgeyo Marakwet intensifies

Lokalis said the strike has derailed services in major health facilities including Iten County Referral Hospital and all sub-county hospitals.

“We are asking the county to stop intimidating COs because they are not returning to work soon,” Lokalis said, claiming the county has failed to negotiate with them. 

County Public Service Board chairman Michael Lelit said the county has no money to pay the COs.

Mr Lelit said consultations among senior county officials to resolve the industrial action are ongoing

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Clinical OfficersKenya Union of Clinical OfficersElgeyo Marakwet