A trade union has sued the government for planning to cut off contributions from its members who are being courted by its rivals.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) has sued the Health ministry for asking workers, through a circular dated June 18, to indicate which union they ascribe to.
“If this circular is not quashed, deductions will not be submitted to the Union of Kenya Civil Servants, which is the only legitimate union to receive deductions of health workers, who are civil servants,” the union said in an application before the High Court.
It claims the ministry is planning to divert contributions from its members starting this month to splinter unions. Named as respondents is the principal secretary at the ministry and the attorney-general.
The ministry circular copied to UKCS, National Nurses Association of Kenya, Kenya Progressive Nurses Association and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union reads in part: “You are requested to ask health workers under your supervision to update the ministry of the current membership of the unions/ associations to facilitate deductions on prescribed forms by the respective organisations.”
The ministry said it had received complaints from workers over deductions remitted to the wrong unions and asked unions to carry out membership drives before the deductions are updated.
UKCS is separately fighting to keep the remittances by nurses after the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) moved to the Industrial Court seeking the same.
KNUN, which was granted registration early this year, claims the ministry continues to remit its members’ deductions to UKCS without their consent.
The nurses union sought orders compelling the Public Service Commission and the Health ministry to remit to deductions from nurses.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants accuses the ministry of recognising splinter unions.