Court orders Nairobi Hospital to allow doctors to join workers' union

 Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Mathews Nduma. [File, Standard]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered Nairobi Hospital to allow its doctors to join a workers’ union.

Justice Mathews Nduma ruled that it is illegal for the hospital to bar the doctors, pharmacists and dentists, who form the majority of the workforce, from joining the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

“The court is satisfied that the allegations against the hospital by KMPDU have not been controverted and as such allows the petition to compel the Nairobi Hospital to permit unionisable employees to join the union,” ruled Nduma.

Justice Nduma directed the hospital to negotiate and execute a draft recognition agreement presented to it by KMPDU within 30 days.

He also declared that KMPDU represents a simple majority of medical practitioners and employees of the hospital who should be allowed to join the union.

According to the judge, the hospital’s action of failing to recognise KMPDU was wrong, and illegal and amounted to unfair labour practices.

The decision was a big win for the doctors’ union which has been fighting with private hospitals to allow its workforce to join the union. KMPDU mainly comprises of medical practitioners, doctors, pharmacists and dentists employed in national and county government hospitals.

KMPDU in its petition argued that it recruited 85 unionisable employees who comprise 60 per cent of all the unionisable employees of the hospital but when they presented a request for recognition, management declined.