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No solution to nurses strike a month down the line

union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako said the government has failed to give an ear to the matter and they will not relent/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – The nurses’ strike has now clocked a month with the care givers vowing not to return to work until the signing and implementation of their CBA by the Council of Governors and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

In a phone interview with Capital FM News, union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako said the government has failed to give an ear to the matter and they will not relent.

“The strike will continue for as long as our concerns are not met,” said Panyako.

Nurses have cited frustration with the government’a non-implementation of the deal made with both the National and County Governments last month.

National Chairman of the union John Bii however said that the strike is illegal citing that the nurses have to go back to the negotiating table before eventually signing the CBA.

“It is not in dispute that nurses in the public sector were awarded nursing service allowance of Sh20,000 last year during the negotiated return-to-work formula, which was paid in January and February in most counties and national facilities. This was, however, stopped after the nurses, through the Secretary-General demanded health service allowance, which was the preserve of other health care cadres,” Bii said.

He added that some counties have resorted to withholding June salary for some of the striking nurses, a measure that might soon be replicated in other counties.

The Council of Governors has termed the ongoing nurses’ strike illegal as the right procedure was not followed for industrial action as stipulated in law.

Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok says even as the strike continues, no County Government has received any legal notice of the strike from the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

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Nanok says the nurses have gone on strike prematurely as negotiations to conclude the CBA were at an advanced stage.

“Fruitful negotiations can only be concluded once the nurses report back to work,” Nanok insisted urging the nurses to resume duty as they await conclusion of the negotiations.

He insists that there was no Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed between the Council of Governors and the nurses union explaining that negotiations were still ongoing.

According to the Council of Governors, the financial implications of the current draft CBA stands at Sh40 billion over a period of four years which translates to Sh10 billion per year which they term as unsustainable.

In the current financial year, the County Governments have made increments of Sh3.4 billion to nurses to be paid every financial year.

He said the County Governments will put measures in place to mitigate the effects of the strike including hiring part-time nurses if the strike continues


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