, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13 – The Council of Governors (CoG) has directed nurses to report back to their work stations immediately following the successful conclusion of talks between their union, the National and County Governments.
In a statement, CoG Chairman Peter Munya said failure by a section of nurses to return to their respective hospitals is an action in breach of the agreement sealed at Afya House on Sunday.
According to Munya, nurses ought to have reported back to work after the parties agreed on further deliberations on outstanding issues.
Earlier on Monday, former Director of Medical Services and now Member of Parliament Dr James Nyikal urged County Governments to conclusively resolve the standoff between the unions of both doctors and nurses to avert the crisis should the medics opt to look for jobs abroad.
“There’s another danger that they (government) are not seeing with the doctors. Many of those doctors will leave the country and we will end up as a country training more people to work as doctors,” Nyikal – the MP for Seme constituency – said.
The legislator who cautioned the country against turning a deaf ear on the demands by medics, said they were humane enough to reach a compromise for the sake of the citizens should they be offered better remuneration which is key among their demands for the implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2013 with the National Government.
“The National Government and the County Governments must sit down with the doctors in order to find a solution,” he said. “The doctors are not inhumane but the employer must also respond to their demands.”
There are demands for a review of the CBA signed in 2013 to include County Governments – which were not in place when it was signed – and therefore not party to the deal which they were essentially supposed to implement.
On Tuesday, Civil Society Organisations called on the government and other stakeholders to consider reviewing the 2013 pact with a view of including the devolved governments in order to commit them to enforcing it.
“The Council of Governors (CoG), Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) should immediately review the proposed scheme of service with a view of implementing it within the constitutional framework,” said Executive Director of the Institute of Social Accountability Wanjiru Gikonyo during a presser on the sidelines of the Annual Conference on Human Rights and Good Governance.
During the signing of an agreement to return to work on Sunday, questions arose due to the absence of some Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) officials among them Secretary General Seth Panyako, forcing the Deputy Secretary General Morris Odhiambo and Chairperson John Bii to append their signatures on the agreement.
The officials termed the move as a necessity to save members of the public from the agony they were undergoing as a result of the strike.
“The union belongs to all of us and not a single individual. The decision that we are going to take here is drastic though it may not go down well with the General Secretary,” Bii stated.
According to union officials all agreements will be incorporated in the CBA to be formulated between 2017 and 2021 which will entail the recognition of the union by County Secretaries and Chairpersons of County Public Service Boards.
Among other things, the National Government agreed to offer all nurses a quantum increase which will entail nursing services allowances for nurses in job group G to L.