To become one of the most effective and self-reliant Veterinary Practitioners’ trade union in the world.
To unite Veterinary Practitioners of all cadres for quality service, socio economic improvement and professional advancement and strengthen their collective bargaining power; and promote quality animal health care.
(this section will be updated soon)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What is a Trade Union?
“trade union” means an association of employees whose principal purpose is to regulate relations between employees and employers, including any employers’ organisation;
What is Union of Veterinary Practioners’ Kenya?
The proposed UVPK is an association of veterinary Practioners with provisional registration under Labour Relations Act to undertake lawful activities in order to establish a trade union
What is the Current status of UVPK?
UVPK has finished all the stages required in registration and is awaiting for National Labour Board to formalise its full registration.
Who is a unionisable employee?
- “Unionisable employee” in relation to any trade union means the employees eligible for membership of that trade union.
- Protection of employers’ rights
Is there any stipulation of my labour rights in Law?
Protection of Labour rights is enshrined in the constitution of Kenya.
Article 41. (1) Every person has the right to fair labour practices.
(2) Every worker has the right:-
(a) To fair remuneration;
- To reasonable working conditions;
- To form, join or participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union; and
- To go on strike.
- Every employer has the right—
- To form and join an employers’ organisation; and
- To participate in the activities and programmes of an employers’ organisation.
- Every trade union and every employers’ organisation has the right—
- To determine its own administration, programmes and activities;
- To organise; and
- To form and join a federation.
(5) Every trade union, employers’ organisation and employer has the right to engage in collective bargaining.
Article 79 (2) Labour Relations Act:
A person does not commit a breach of contract or a tort by taking part in:-
(a) a protected strike or a protected lock-out; or
(b) any lawful conduct in contemplation or furtherance of a protected strike or a protected lock-out.
(3) An employer may not dismiss or take disciplinary action against an employee for participating in a protected strike or for any conduct in contemplation or furtherance of a protected strike.
(4) Civil proceedings may not be instituted against any person for―
(a) participating in a protected strike or a protected lock-out; or
(b) any conduct in furtherance of a protected strike or protected lock-out.
Who are the members eligible to join UVPK?
Whether you are a Veterinary Surgeon (employee, employer, student or retired), Veterinary paraprofessional working in the veterinary profession/industry, UVPK is YOUR organisation.
What will UVPK do for you?
Provide you with support and representation:
We will provide you with guidance, support and representation, to address any employment-related problems such as contracts, pay, working hours, annual or maternity leave, redundancy, work-related stress, illness and bullying. Unlike members of other non-union organisations with arbitration and mediation services, UVPK members experiencing problems in the workplace will have a legal right to union representation.
Improve your working terms and conditions:
We will strive to improve the working terms & conditions for veterinary Practioners and all others working in the veterinary profession. We will investigate, flag-up, and campaign to address any issues affecting the working lives of the members. We will aim at developing health and safety structure and policies relevant to delivery of veterinary practice. We will aim to organise programmes to enhance the well-being of members, by facilitating wider interaction amongst the membership.
Safeguard your professional privilege and interests:
We will investigate, flag-up and campaign to address any issues affecting the delivery of your professional responsibilities at work place. We will work alongside veterinary professionals and veterinary professional bodies to create a better working environment for all our members, to enable the best delivery of service to patients and clients. We shall aim to respond to significant consultations sought by the government or other relevant bodies to safeguard your interests.
Support your further education:
In order to help members enhance professional knowledge, we will aim to offer non-profit Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) programmes, as well as educational programmes valuable to both employees and employers, on subjects such as health, safety and environment, equality and diversity. Members will also have access to other union courses.
Medical Malpractice Cover (Professional Liability Insurance – PLI)
Cover that helps protect you professionally if a claim is brought against you, by a client, due to an [alleged] error they may have encountered whilst you were carrying out your professional duties.
How do I get involved?
The strength of union depends on the level of involvement by its members.
Therefore, every member of the UVPK has the opportunity to get involved and to strengthen the UVPK by supporting the organisation and its activities.
To get involved, publicly or behind the scenes, please contact:
- Facebook Page: Union of Veterinary Professionals
- Twitter: @vet_union
- Instagram: union_of_vet_practioners_uvpk
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why should I join the UVPK, what’s special about it?
- Our exclusive objective in UVPK is to safeguard the individual and collective interests of veterinary surgeons, veterinary paraprofessionals, and others working within our profession. The UVPK focuses on the issues that directly or indirectly impact on you, as veterinary professionals in veterinary workplaces.
- UVPK’s only agenda is to enhance the labour matters of the working lives of its members, and that of the wider profession.
What about veterinary employees and their employers being in the same union?
- Employed veterinary professionals may feel they need UVPK more than their employers do. However, whether we are employees or employers, most of us do the same work – treating sick and injured animals, looking after herd health, or working in busy clinics and practices, so we face similar challenges. The Code of Conduct for Veterinary professionals does not distinguish between vets as employees or employers. If the KVB holds you to account, it does not matter what your employment status is. The threat of being sued for a surgical or medical error remains the same – regardless of your role. Therefore, more unites employed vets and those who are employers, rather than divides them. Employers are also affected by decisions by authorities which can make their working life difficult. Therefore, the UVPK believes that for the most part of our professional work, veterinary employers need representation and a voice, just as much as their employees and staff do.
- Most important of all, UVPK will be more constructive, more beneficial and more successful for everyone, if it provides a joint platform for employees and employers to come together – to resolve issues and help each other.
- Most disputes are best resolved when both parties can work together on solution, around the same table. Uniting our profession is at the heart of the UVPK.
How will I benefit if am Self-employed or in Private sector?
- We should be optimistic and look at *unemployment of vets as a temporary setback*. Suppose the next government decides to employ vets regularly and it becomes a norm, there will definitely be a shortage of vets in the private sector. If the government offers a good package, the competition for vets will lead to a high remuneration in the private sector. At the moment vets are in abundance and available for exploitation in the private sector. The unemployment rate is alarming and the prospects that this union will have an impact is doubtful by the affected.
- The union has its mandate clearly cut. *To push for employment of vets; to seek for better employment terms for the vets and lasts to ensure the work environment of the vets meets the international standards.* If these 3 can be delivered, vet profession will be on its feet again. And that can’t be achieved without the numbers. Numbers come with finances and ideas. Finances and ideas make strategic planning possible. So tell those who are laid back that know that the future they want begins with this union. The future for some of them and the future vets.
Are you worried about your union calling for strike action?
- Strikes are rare, and a last resort in negotiations, and not an objective of UVPK. Yes, addressing problems at work is our concern, and UVPK will leave no stone unturned to work with members and employers to resolve such issues. Considering that most of our colleagues work in small units, and the nature of the work we do, it’s hard for us in UVPK to imagine a scenario where strike action would be beneficial or plausible. UVPK in Unite means that members can tackle issues, like health and safety, bullying and harassment, equality issues, poor practice, or unfairness, together, so no-one need feel they are on their own if anything goes wrong.
- The UVPK aims to safeguard our working lives as veterinary professionals, highlight any issues and problems faced by our members, offering guidance and support. We believe the presence of a strong union should challenge and deter poor employer practice in our profession. UVPK members are stronger working together than any individual can be.
- Industrial action (including strike, or action short of a strike) is covered in law, and can only take place when other avenues have been exhausted without satisfactory results. If strike action faces members as a last resort, then a lawful ballot of all members affected must be held through National Executive Board.
What are some of the activities that UVPK will be involved in?
In order to fulfil the above objectives, the union will undertake following activities:
Improving terms of employment
- It will create awareness about relevant employment laws, flag up deviations by employers and guide and help vets to adhere to employment laws.
- Job contracts meeting all legal requirements would be actively promoted as a necessity.
- It will develop and maintain independent guidelines for a reasonable starting salary for new graduates. Independent salary surveys would be conducted to enable vets and nurses to claim reasonable salaries and increments.
- Awareness of, and full compliance to, working time regulations will be promoted, and reasonable definitions of active and inactive on-call time would be drawn up in partnership with all stakeholders to avoid ambiguity and abuse of such regulations by individual employers.
- It will campaign for clocking of time for vets and nurses, so that a proper count of hours worked would be recorded and extra hours worked would be compensated for.
- The union will educate employees and employers on the provision of breaks and rest periods at work, and holidays.
- Veterinary practices will be encouraged to create dedicated out-of-hours (OOH) services, or use existing OOH services.
- It will lobby for improved CPD support by employers.
- Guidelines and information will be made available to vets and regarding matters of employment.
- It will campaign for flexibility of working hours for female veterinary professionals with family commitments.
Improving working condition
- The union will create awareness about the need for a healthy, safe and dignified working environment for veterinary staff. It will develop models and protocols for safe working environments and conditions.
- It will ensure that existing laws are adhered to, and will lobby for any further changes to improve working conditions for vets and nurses.
- It will work to motivate employers to improve the facilities for the staff.
- The union will fight against abuse in veterinary practices and will fully support those at the receiving end of malpractices.
Welfare of vets and nurses as professionals
- The union will provide independent guidelines and information to new graduates to help them successfully settle in the profession.
- It will provide the necessary information to help veterinary professionals prevent litigation against them.
- It will flag up, and lobby against, any professional malpractices in independent veterinary practices, corporate groups and charitable veterinary establishments.
- It will lobby against any regulations, from any source, that might hinder vets from rendering their services in full compliance with the KVB Guide to Professional Conduct, other relevant laws of the land and in accordance with professional and moral ethics.
- It will work towards safeguarding the privilege of clinical freedom for veterinary practioners.
- The union will provide advice, help and representation (right up to employment tribunals/Industrial Courts) to its members in the cases of disputes with employers.
- It will support all organisations, like the VBF, that work to help vets in difficulty.