Drama as nurses’ union officials clash during media briefing on strike

June 16, 2017 12:11 pm
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A team led by acting Chairperson Joseph Ngwasi invaded a meeting called by the union’s Chairperson John Bii in at the Nairobi Railway Club Friday in which an announcement regarding the ongoing nurses’ strike was to be made/JOSEPH MURAYA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – A tussle has ensued between two factions of the Kenya National Union of Nurses after both claimed legitimacy to speak on behalf of the union.

A team led by acting Chairperson Joseph Ngwasi invaded a meeting called by the union’s Chairperson John Bii in at the Nairobi Railway Club Friday in which an announcement regarding the ongoing nurses’ strike was to be made.

Bii’s leadership at the helm of the union has been a subject of litigation since February, the Union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako calling for his ouster.

The embattled Chairperson however told the press that the Council of Governors (CoG) had agreed to commence fresh talks on the nurses’ Collective Bargaining Agreement for the period between 2017 and 2021 on condition that the strike is called off.

“I am glad that CoG has agreed to reopen the talks on condition that nurses resume services immediately. Unions at each county will have to negotiate their CBA separately,” Bii said.

Ngwasi, the acting Chair however disputed the claims by Bii as he together with the Deputy Secretary General Maurice Opetu, who has been acting on behalf of Panyako, said the strike will not be called off.

Panyako who later joined the botched meeting blamed some officials of at the CoG for frustrating the signing of a draft CBA that would cost the taxpayer Sh40.3 billion.

According to Panyako, CoG’s Chief Executive Jacqueline Mogeni , council chair Josphat Nanok (Turkana), and governors James Ongwae (Kisii) and Jack Ranguma (Kisumu) were to be blamed for the state of affairs saying they were an impediment to the resolution of the nurses’ strike.

The ongoing strike was declared by acting Secretary General Maurice Opetu on June 4.

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