Govt appeases clinical officers with union recognition

Monday February 18 2019

Doctors performing surgery. By inducing hypothermia and slowing metabolism in dying patients, doctors hope to buy valuable time in which to mend the victims’ wounds. PHOTO/FILE

Doctors performing surgery. The Ministry of Health has on February 18, 2019 recognised the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Clinical officers have dropped their strike threat in favour of talks with their employers after Ministry of Health recognised their union.

The Health ministry recognised Kenya Union of Clinical Officers' (KUCO) right to take part in negotiations, a move that placated the health workers.

Patients in the public health facilities can now expect uninterrupted services from the clinicians, who have to pick up extra duties when nurses are on strike.

A letter dated February 18, 2019 and signed by Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and KUCO Secretary-General George Gibore revealed that the two parties agree to further talks on their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

In a telephone interview, Mr Gibore said the union issued its February 9 strike notice to force the ministry to recognise their right to participate in labour negotiations.

“KUCO and the Ministry of Health have now signed a recognition agreement, meaning the strike notice as issued last week stands withdrawn,” said Mr Gibore.

The clinicians union leaders said prior to the collapse of the previous talks, 90 percent of the issues under discussion had been resolved.

Mr Gibore said the Council of Governors which had walked out of the negotiations in April 2018, had written a commitment letter to resume talks through the Ministry of Labour.

Kenya has about 20,000 clinical officers registered by the government countrywide, with at least 14, 000 affiliated with KUCO.

“Out of the 14,000 union members we represent as a union, the national and county governments have employed 6, 000,” he said.