Governors move to placate disgruntled nurses and avert health sector paralysis

June 5, 2017 10:24 am
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Governors at a previous meeting/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – The Council of Governors (CoG) was on Monday due to issue a statement with regards to the threatened nurses strike.

The Council is expected to give its perspective on the status of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) concluded earlier in the year but is yet to be signed.

While announcing the commencement of the strike Sunday, union Acting Secretary General Morris Opetu said the union had taken the decision to order its members to down their tools after counties declined to sign a deal with them.

“The nurses are going to down their tools at midnight on Sunday. We’re saying enough is enough because the patience and goodwill that was there has run out,” Opetu said.

KNUN had on December 15 agreed to end a strike that lasted for close to ten days upon the intervention of Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu who brokered a negotiated agreement between the union and CoG,  paving way for the negotiation of a CBA.

Mailu’s arbitration came amid continuous jostling between county administrations and union leaders led by then Secretary General Seth Panyako who declined to call off the strike before embarking on dialogue with CoG.

After putting pen to paper on the December pact however, the parties agreed to begin talks on January 1.

“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 January 1, 2017,” Panyako said at the CoG headquarters when the deal was birthed in December.

“We have made two decisions, one that the county governments will sign the Recognition Agreement with KNUN and that simultaneously they will call off the strike as ordered by the court – thereafter the process of negotiations will follow,” then CoG Chairperson Governor Peter Munya said.

CS Mailu called on the doctors to soften their stand on the matters they had raised so as to resolve their issues.

“I ask them (doctors) to cushion their excesses with resilience to be able to humble themselves to come to the negotiating table and get a solution,” he said.

However, close to six months down the line, the CBA is still elusive despite both sides suggesting that it had since been concluded.

CoG is said to have presented the agreement to the Salaries and Remunerations Commission for its input before implementing it, a move that has not gone down well with the nurses.

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