, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe has assured health workers willing to resume duty of protection after a section of medical practitioners claimed that they were being threatened.
Kiraithe warned that no person would be allowed to stop nurses and doctors from executing what they swore to undertake, even as negotiations continue between the government and their unions.
“In a democracy, nobody should always agree with you. If they have chosen to go back and offer humanity very essential services, then they must be given the chance and the law will protect them,” he asserted.
“It is criminal to attempt to stop somebody from doing what they have chosen to do when that person has not committed any wrong.”
He was addressing journalists while in the company of several bodies under the Kenya Health Professional Society, who urged their counterparts to resume work and give dialogue a chance.
The group had on Friday called for all inclusive negotiations, but their Secretary General Moses Lorwe now says they have been given 48 hours to form a negotiating team, that will reach a consensus with the government.
“It is ordinary Kenyans who are suffering. We call upon all our health colleagues to take the interest of Kenyans at heart and come to the negotiating table,” he appealed.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako however says the strike is on, until their grievances are addressed.
He said the ongoing strike is in full force and only a meeting set for Monday will review negotiations and determine if the will resume duty or not.
Panyako said all public servants basic salaries must be harmonised, even as they pile pressure on the government to implement their Collective Bargaining Agreement.
We are still on strike,” said Panyako, “The ongoing negotiations have recorded good progress but an agreement is yet to be reached.”
He reiterated that it is urgent that the Recognition Agreement between the nurses and County Governments must be signed by authorised persons in law before any other agreement can be entered into.
“We are not going to agree on a return to work formula; it is the CBA that we have presented and we are looking forward to a harmonised one,” said Panyako.
More than 20 people are reported to have died in several hospitals across the country following the doctors and nurses strike.