NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has threatened to instruct its members to resume a nationwide strike in a week’s time should the National and County Governments fail to address concerns raised by the union on the harmonisation of nurses’ salaries.
KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako told the press on Thursday that a meeting held between the union and National and County Governments on February 27 and 28 failed to reach consensus on the harmonisation of salaries which he said are plagued with huge disparities.
“The two levels of government did agree with the union on all non-monetary issues but failed to submit counterproposals,” Panyako said.
He said the failure to address the concerns raised by the union was an act of the betrayal of good faith expressed by the union in suspending the strike on December 14 last year.
According to Panyako, the government had requested for an extra two weeks to complete a counterproposal on salary adjustments.
He however said that the union was only willing to give authorities a week to table an offer, failing which nurses in all public health facilities will down their tools in protests.
“The two levels of government squandered two months without taking any action, something the union has noted with great disappointment,” he said.
“The National Executive Council has agreed to further suspend the strike by a week and if government will not submit a harmonized counterproposal, the union will direct her members to resume the industrial action on March, 13.”
On December 14 last year, KNUN signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Council of Governors (CoG) effectively suspending a week-long strike which had commenced on December 5.
Under the truce, the parties agreed to expedite the conclusion of a harmonised Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by March 2, something that is yet to happen.
“We have reached an agreement and the small issues that the National Governing Council had raised have actually been handled and those that have not been handled we have agreed in a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health that they’ll be handled during the Harmonised Collective Bargaining Agreement that is going to be negotiated beginning 1 January 2017,” Panyako said then during a meeting held at the CoG offices at Delta Corner under the leadership of Health CS Cleopa Mailu.
The December accord was signed by all the Chairpersons of County Service Boards with the assurance that nursing service allowances would be disbursed subsequently.
Panyako however accused the county administrations for hording money that had otherwise been disbursed to them by the national government for payment of the allowances.