NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 11 – A meeting seeking to end the strike by Nairobi City County workers went late into Wednesday night at the Labour Ministry offices without an agreement in sight.
Nairobi Deputy Jonathan Mueke said that the negotiations were ongoing though the demands by the worker unions were yet to be agreed on.
The meeting was convened following a directive by the Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi who wants the union to call off the strike that has crippled essential services including morgue services to city residents.
The worst hit departments include Pumwani Maternity Hospital which was closed indefinitely on Tuesday and City Mortuary which is now operating under deplorable conditions.
Grieving families and friends have been having a difficult time getting bodies of their loved ones in and out of the public mortuary since last week.
Some of those interviewed are pleading with the government to intervene and find a lasting solution.
“We came all the way from Kakamega to collect a body and then when we got to the City Mortuary there were no attendants on site. We don’t know what to do next,” said another victim.
“We are required by our Islamic religion to bury those of us who die within one day and the strike is causing a delay in our schedule,” said a man who had gone to collect a body from the City Mortuary.
Samuel Mugweru an official of the Kenya County Government Workers Union said that they are yet to come to an agreement.
”Unless we get paid our dues we have no plans to go back to work, we are giving the Nairobi City County time to pay us,” said Mugweru.
He added that they will tomorrow call for a meeting to inform their workers on the way forward.
Reports coming in on Wednesday indicate that babies died at the Pumwani Maternity.
The closure of the Pumwani Hospital is a crisis as most women who cannot afford the private hospitals do not have access to the services.
The hospital serves approximately 80 women per day.
The standoff by the workers has seen the streets of Nairobi vandalised by the protesting workers with police fighting them with teargas.
On Thursday last week City Hall announced that they were counting losses amounting to Sh35 million in revenue.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said that the strike was having a negative impact on the county’s revenue base and urged workers to return to work.
“Let us be dedicated. Let us bring ourselves out so that we can serve the people of Nairobi with dedication. That is what we are there for as a County Government,” he said.
The Governor stated that there were workers who had reported to work and those who did not will be deemed to have absconded their duties.