NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) staff confirmed on Monday that they had been paid part of the Sh292 million in salary arrears that had threatened to destabilise operations at the referral hospital.,
The staff union Chairman Albert Ambune told Capital News the Sh27 million payment was made last Friday as had been agreed with the government.
“The agreement was that we were to be paid the arrears of one month on January 9. The management and government have honoured their part and we are also honouring our part by going on with work,” Mr Ambune said.
He said that the workers had now resolved not to go on strike since the deal had been honoured.
“We want to assure everybody that the services are going on smoothly,” the chairman declared.
Last month, the government agreed to pay the seven month debt in three month instalments that would end in March.
“We hope this time round, the management and government are going to respect the deal because the problem was caused by a breach of the previous agreement,” Mr Ambune revealed.
He said the previous agreement was that the first phase would be paid in July last year, the second phase in August and the last phase was to be paid in September, but the government breached the deal in August.
KNH is the largest referral hospital in East and Central Africa and the unionisable staff had threatened to go on strike if the government failed to pay their salary arrears.
The health workers boycotted their duties just a week before Christmas and only returned following intervention by the Medical Services Minister Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o, who promised that their issues would be addressed.
The government and the staff union later came to an agreement that the payment would be made in three installments beginning January, where two payments would be made on January 9 and January 30.
The arrears for the third and fourth month would be paid in February, while the other three months would be paid in March.
The arrears come from an accord in April 2007 where the government agreed to give a pay rise to staff at the hospital, through a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
However they only earned the new figures for six months, before their pay went back down to their former salary.