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Nairobi medics demand promotions, issue strike notice

Reproductive Health - By Japheth Ogila

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko when they addressed the press on August 22, 2020, at KICC. With them were Nairobi County Assembly (MCAs). General Badi and Governor Sonko discussed how to solve medics' strike. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard

Kenya Professionals Health Society (KPHS) has issued a strike notice to Nairobi County and Nairobi Metropolitan Services to compel the authorities to address job stagnation which it claims stifles the growth of its members.

In a letter sent to the two authorities, KPHS points out that clinical officers, nurses, laboratory technologists and other health workers within its ranks have stagnated at lower job groups since the start of devolution. This, KPHS says, jeopardises chances of their career development and scuttles their entitlement to retirement packages commensurate with years of service.

“Despite there being clear policy guidelines on promotions and re-designations, our county is lagging behind to the disadvantage of our members. Fair labour practices and best HR practices dedicate that employees’ welfare must be respected and must be exercised in a manner not disadvantaging employees,” the letter notes partly.

“Nairobi County is the county which has health workers who have stagnated for long since devolution.”

The body further argues that its members are serving the county under the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC). This is an initiative which the KPHS says can only be achieved through a motivated workforce.

It has outlined several situations that could arise a result of the stagnation, which it claims puts its members on the losing end. According to the KPHS, failing to promote the workers could create disharmony between the serving medical officers and their juniors on the entry-level. The long-serving officers risk losing their fair share of retirement packages, which are calculated as per terms and years of service due to the failure to be promoted.

The medical officers have therefore highlighted five areas they want to be addressed by the two administrations in Nairobi.

They want all eligible workers to be promoted into their respective next job groups. In this, they recommend three-step job group promotions to those who have served for 9 years and two-step job group promotion for those who have served for 6 to 8 years.

They want those who served in USAID Capacity Projects to be considered for promotions as was directed by the Ministry of Health in a circular dated December 19, 2013.

They also want the County Public Service Board and Public Service Commission to have a waive for the health workers outside common cadre. The PHS says the notice is in conformity with the contents of the agreement it signed with the government last year.

“KUCO and KNUN signed a written Return to Work Agreement on November 15, 2019, and today many issues remain unresolved and the special committee recommendations have not been acted upon as promised,” it states. It has issued a two-day ultimatum for action.

“Failure to do so by September 9, 2020, will result in the lifting of the suspension of the industrial action which commenced on November 10, 2019,” the KPHS warns.

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