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Health workers in Machakos call off planned strike

Health workers in Machakos County have called of their planned strike after they reached an agreement with the County Government.

The region’s Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Chairperson Dr. Charles Okumu said the strike that was planned to kick off next Tuesday was suspended after the county government agreed to fast track promotions of 422 medical staff by Friday 21.

The health workers had on Monday threatened to down their tools protesting against delayed promotions and poor working conditions.

Addressing the media on Thursday outside the Governor’s office after a crisis meeting with the county top leadership, Okumu said the promoted health workers will also be paid in arrears as resolved in the meeting.

“The Machakos county government shall within six months quantify the arrears for the promoted health workers and engage the union officials on the implementation framework,” said the KMPDU chair.

He also revealed that health workers due for promotion will have their files reviewed pending their promotion. “Phase two of health workers who may be due for promotions will be reviewed and the county government will engage the union on the implementation framework by January 13, 2024,” he added.

Governor Wavinya Ndeti, speaking at the same event committed to look into the welfare of the health workers to boost their morale and improve service delivery. “It’s not only unfair but also an abuse of human rights to have workers stagnate in one job group for years,” said Ndeti.

Besides promotions, the Governor also promised that her government will ensure adequate supply of drugs and other medical essentials in all health facilities for improved health care.

“We want to ensure that the environment in which the doctors are working is conducive for them and the patients,” she added.

Ndeti also promised to have proper schemes of service not only for health workers but for the entire county personnel to ensure staff progression.

“We have workers who have in the last ten years received the same pay with no increment or promotions. A proper scheme of service will ensure that those that are fit for promotion are not discriminated or disadvantaged,” she noted.

By Roselyne Kavoo and William Mutunga 

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