State queries court order to pay nurses

Feb 2013. Daily Nation

The government has challenged a recent court order to pay outstanding salaries of nurses who went on strike.

In an application filed at the Industrial Court on Monday, the ministries of Public Health and Medical Services are questioning the order issued on February 7 since the legality of the job boycott has not been determined.

State counsel Kiage Oenga said the government was aggrieved by the directive asking permanent secretaries in the two ministries to effect the orders.

The government is seeking clarification and review of the order on the grounds that it is silent on the question of legality of the strike. It says it may suffer irreparable damage and loss should it pay the health workers’ December salaries and the courts later find that the strike was illegal.

“The salaries in question were stopped on December 3, last year as the nurses had engaged in a strike whose legality is doubtful and a determination on the legal status of the strike is pending before the Industrial Court,” explained the counsel.

The permanent secretaries of the two ministries, he said, were apprehensive about the effect of the order on management of health care in the country.

He said under the Labour Relations Act, an employer was not legally bound to pay an employee who took part in an illegal strike.


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