Veterinary practitioners in the country have issued a 60-day strike notice to the government over unfavorable working conditions.

In a notice issued on Tuesday to the 47 County Governments and the Principal Secretary for the State Department of Livestock which is under the Agriculture and the Union of Veterinary Practitioners, Kenya (UVPK) is demanding a review of its members’ remuneration, noting that they are “overworked and underpaid.”

“Despite our veterinary practitioners being overworked and exposed to life-threatening viruses as the first line of defence for animal and human health, there has been a programmed approach by the government through the Salaries & Remuneration Commission (SRC) to deny our practitioners the right to fair compensation,” said UVPK Secretary General Dr. Miheso Mulembani.

Dr. Mulembani claimed that some of the veterinary practitioners in the country have suffered disabling injuries without any Work Injury benefits paid to them.

The union wants the government to immediately address the shortage of veterinary practitioners noting that the State Department of Livestock has a shortfall of about 1,000 Veterinary practitioners while counties have an estimated shortfall of 20,000 Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary paraprofessionals shortfall.

“The last promotion of the few existing veterinary practitioners in service was the year 2012 way before the start of devolution. The promotion of existing cadres of veterinary staff must be undertaken as a matter of priority,” said the union.

The Union of Veterinary Practitioners, Kenya is also urging the government to post the Veterinary and animal health Graduates whom it says are languishing in villages without posting by the State Department of Livestock.

Further, UVPK claims that the State Department of Livestock and some county Public Service Boards particularly the Taita Taveta County have been unwilling to sign a Recognition Agreement of CBA signed with the veterinaries union.

“Unless the employers -the State Department of Livestock & 47 County Governments- ensures that the already deposited recognition agreements are signed as soon as possible for purposes of negotiating a CBA and further that the remittances of union dues is guaranteed, the Union of Veterinary Practitioners hereby issues a 60-day strike notice,” states the veterinary practitioners union.

By Fred Odanga.