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Six demands by clinical officers as KUCO announces nationwide strike


 Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) chairperson Peter Wachira flanked by Secretary-General George Gibore. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) have announced a nationwide strike effective Sunday midnight and has issued six demands to the government.

This means they will be joining the ongoing doctors’ strike that has been running since March 15.

In a press briefing on Sunday, KUCO Chairman Peter Wachira says all legal mechanisms have been exhausted, therefore they have no other option but to down their tools.

“The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) regrets to inform the public of the imminent commencement of a national strike starting on April 1st, 2024,” a statement by Secretary General George Gibore reads.

“This strike action comes after a prolonged neglect by the government in addressing critical issues affecting Clinical Officers, which directly hinder the delivery of quality healthcare services and undermine the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a key Government agenda in the health sector,”.

Further, Gibore argues that the issues raised could be solved in a week if the government paid enough attention.

“That, our concerted efforts, including a 21-day demand letter and 7 days subsequent reminders, the government's failure to engage, left us with no choice but to proceed with the strike,”

First, KUCO wants the prolonged negotiations on its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to conclude. The talks have stalled since 2017.

“This protracted negotiation period, spanning two life cycles of a CBA, is a clear testament to the lack of commitment from the government's side. Despite court orders mandating engagement and resolution, the Council of Governors (CoG) has repeatedly failed to cooperate, leaving us with no recourse but to escalate our action,” KUCO Secretary-General says.

Secondly, the union wants clinical officers to be confirmed as permanent staff with pensions.

“While the Ministry of Health has indicated budgetary readiness, the UHC contracts under punitive terms. CoG's refusal to provide concurrence has stalled progress, on the other hand, insistíng extension of UHC contracts under punitive terms,”

The Union also wants a clear career progression for its members, arguing that some Clinical officers have not been promoted since 2013.

“We protest the Systemic flagrant disregard of Public Service Commission (PSC) HR Manuals by both the Ministry of Health and County Governments, resulting in the stagnation of career progression for the majority of Clinical Officers some have not seen promotion since devolution began, Kirinyaga County Government stands as a stark example,”

KUCO also wants the immediate recruitment of 20, 000 clinical officers, the Ministry of Health’s adherence to 2020 approved internship staff establishment guidelines as well as the approval of Career Progression Guidelines for clinical officers.

On Monday, April 1, services at 4, 172 level II hospitals, 1, 217 level III Hospitals, 3, 376 level IV Hospitals, and 14 level V facilities will be disrupted, as all clinical services come to a halt.

On March 25, Clinical Officers gave the government until Sunday, March 31 midnight to address various grievances failure to which they will proceed on strike.

Wachira, the Chair, said the court last directed the employers to resume negotiations with a view of concluding the same.

Wachira said despite the ministry coming to the negotiating table, no reasonable progress had been made.


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