Lab technicians stage protests in Nairobi, demand job promotions

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 22 May, 2024 17:29 | 2 mins read
Lab Technician working on samples. PHOTO/ Pexels
Lab Technician working on samples. PHOTO/ Pexels

The return of Kenyan doctors to their workstations in public hospitals has yet to result in normalized health services in most facilities, as clinical officers and medical laboratory officers are still striking.

Several lab technicians staged protests in Nairobi demanding promotions and better working conditions. 

On May 22, 2024, the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) led by their Secretary General Pius Nyakundi, entered their 50th day of striking, staging protests in Nairobi.

Strike enters day 50

The lab technicians said they felt discriminated against by the government which is refusing to have any discussions.

“It is our day 50 of the national strike and without the government and chair of governors engaging us in any discussions. One thing that is our irreducible minimum, is we are not going back to work without a recognition agreement, which is a right and not a privilege,” Nyakundi said.

According to their secretary general, the Ministry of Labour convened a meeting but the Ministry of Health and the Council of Governors failed to show up. On the other hand, the Cabinet Secretary of Health has not been stating correct facts about there being a process for seamless negotiations. 

A lab technician on shift. PHOTO/ Pexels

Nyakundi requested the CS to note that the law states that an employer shall recognize a union that has met the required threshold. 

“The Cabinet Secretary has lied to parliament twice claiming she has been engaging us through the office of the PS and till now the government has not engaged us,” Nyakundi stated.

No agreement, no Work

Nyakundi mentioned that some staff were on contract for the last 4 years, citing that they were receiving the pay of everyone else.

“We have colleagues on the global fund and have worked in the last 15 years, and their contracts were terminated last year, but have been told to stay on duty without any formal commitment and pay,” Nyakundi added.

KMPDU, the union representing health sector workers, initiated a strike on March 15, 2024, to demand interns, clinical workers, and laboratory technicians be accorded the rights outlined in the Agreement.

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