The management of Nairobi Hospital has been ordered by the Employment and Labor Relations Court to allow members of staff to join the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists’ Union, through a ruling dated August 24, 2023.
The union had filed suit via a Memorandum of Claim in November 2022, against the hospital and Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, seeking a declaration or finding that the union represents the simple majority of unionsable employees.
Other orders issued were a declaration and/or finding that the hospital’s action of failing to recognize the union was wrongful and illegal and amounted to unfair labour practice contrary to Article 41 of the Constitution.
An affidavit sworn by the union’s secretary general, Davji Bhimji Attellah, claimed that the union had recruited 85 unionisable employees, who comprise 60% of all the unionisable employees of the hospital. However, in a letter dated July 29, 2021, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital wrote to the union stating that upon review of the contracts of the draft recognition agreement and having considered the employees whose interests the union intends to represent, it had found that the number of staff the union wants to represent is approximately 14% of the total unionisable employees.
The hospital’s chief executive officer stated that the union had not satisfied the threshold set under Section 54(1) of the Labour Relations Act, 2008, to warrant recognition by the hospital.
Judge Mathews Nduma noted, “The Court finds that the claimant has proved on a balance of probabilities that it had recruited about 85 unionisable employees of the 1st respondent, who comprise about 60% of the unionisable employees of the 1st respondent”.
In the final analysis, the court makes the following orders:
(a) A declaration that the claimant union represents a simple majority of unionisable employees of the first respondent.