NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Kenya National Union (KNUN) of nurses on Wednesday issued a warning that they will take industrial action if salaries of nurses at the counties are not paid by Friday.
Union Secretary General Seth Panyako said some nurses have not been paid, which contravenes their return-to-work formula reached following the end of their strike in December.
“The County Governments are yet to pay health workers and are instead harassing the workers.”
“Some counties are even asking the health workers to re-apply for their positions even after working for many years in their stations.”
“We are issuing a warning that if the workers do not receive their salaries for November and December we will call for another strike by the workers,” he explained.
The Secretary General asked that the Public Service Commission to streamline payment and operations at the counties before disbursing the salaries.
Panyako further demanded that salaries should not be disbursed to the counties to pay the workers until the contentious issues that had been raised are resolved.
“We ask the Public Service Commission to reign in this confusion and bring sanity to the health sector by discharging its constitutional mandate of protecting the health workers and the public.”
“The Ministry of Health together with the Treasury should not transfer the payroll, personnel emoluments to the County Government in the February supplementary budget,” Panyako observed.
He added “the County Government Act directs that unless there is an agreement, it is the responsibility of the National Government to pay the salaries allowances and other benefits due to the staff seconded to a County Government during the transition period.”
The union officials emphasized that “county officials are issuing dismissal letters and letters of transfer to health workers for them to go back to the National Government yet their salaries are due at the counties.”
Following the return-to-work agreement in December Panyako disowned the agreement signed between the government and health officials adding that his union was not fully involved, and concerns raised by the health workers were not addressed.
The strike which lasted for close to two weeks saw Kenyans denied crucial health services leading to deaths of eight unborn babies among other challenges, with others being forced to seek services from private health facilities at a high cost.