, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya (PUSETU-K) has given the government a 14-day ultimatum to resolve a standoff with health workers, failure to which all civil servants will down their tools.
General Secretary Charles Mukhwaya stated that the National Government should convene a meeting of all parties in the dispute in a bid to resolve the impasse.
He further supported health workers’ proposal for the formation of a National Health Service Commission to handle affairs of all health workers.
“Our doctors must be well paid; they must be well taken care of for them to be in those hospitals throughout to ensure that if any of our citizens faces the threat of Ebola, then we have professionals who are going to take care of the situation. But you can imagine the way the situation is right now, the doctors are not in those hospitals and the few who are there are resigning because the management of the services of those hospitals is wanting,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union chairman Victor Ngani who says health workers will support a referendum which will ensure the formation of the commission.
“This country needs a Health Service Commission. As KMPDU, we are on the referendum train that brings on board a health services commission. That referendum is what we must support and not just us but the rest of Kenyans,” he stated.
“Following a request made by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union and other trade unions representing health care workers in all public hospitals, the Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya has after extensive consultations with the unions concerned agreed to immediately intervene in the current stand-off pitting the county Governments against unions.”
“Consequently, PUSETU has taken over the matter and joined hands with the trade unions and wish to state that it firmly supports the action taken by health care providers in all public health facilities across the country.”
Mukhwaya called on upon County Governments to immediately pay all health workers their delayed July 2014 salaries and other outstanding emoluments to avert continued strike and alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.
He explained that the key sectors of education and security among others should be centrally managed by the National Government.
On Monday, Health Secretary James Macharia ruled out setting up of the Health Service Commission saying it will reverse the gains of devolution.
He assured the health workers that salaries shall be paid in full in the next two days and further called on County Governments to update their employment payrolls in the health sector to ensure that delays in payment do not recur.