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Reprieve for Vihiga health staff as sacking notice reversed

Sunday December 08 2019
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Some of the Vihiga County health workers who were sacked through a newspaper notice on December 3. The county public service board reversed the decision and on December 8, 2019 issued another notice reinstating the workers. PHOTO | DERICK LUVEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DERICK LUVEGA

It is a reprieve for 528 health workers in Vihiga County who were sacked through a newspaper notice on December 3 after the County Public Service Board said it had withdrawn the notice.

The workers had been sent packing over irregular recruitment.

The move by the two-week old board, which is headed by Mr Franklin Esipila, comes after the county assembly said it had summoned the hiring body to appear before it on Wednesday to shed light on its decision to end the services of the staff who were employed in May.

NO DETAILS

In a fresh twist, the board on Sunday took back its words, saying it had withdrawn the sacking notice but did not divulge details.

Said the Board: "This is to notify the general public the notice that appeared in one of the local dailies on 3rd December 2019 is hereby withdrawn."

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In the notice last week, the board claimed it had investigated the recruitment process and found it was irregularly conducted by the previous board whose term ended in June, a month after hiring the health workers.

The affected staff have not received salaries for seven months.

BOARD FAULTED

The assembly had faulted the new board for issuing the sacking notice while aware of an existing court process and ongoing investigations into the matter by an ad-hoc committee.

The board surprised the workers after it said it had nullified the process that led to their employment.

The five-member board then issued the workers with sacking letters.

The board had in the December 3 notice said it had investigated the recruitment process and appointments and established that the exercise was marred by massive irregularities and illegalities.

PROTESTS

The decision to nullify the recruitment attracted protests from the affected staff and their lawyer, Mr Aggrey Musiega, wrote to the board reminding it of an existing court order and an active court case.

Mr Musiega warned that the board risked being cited for contempt over its decision to terminate the contracts of the staff who were engaged on permanent and pensionable terms.

On their part, the affected staff said they were being targeted unfairly and demanded their salaries and respect of the court order protecting their jobs until the case filed at the Kisumu Labour court is heard and determined.

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