, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Clinical officers have called off their three week nationwide strike after they signed a return to work formula with governors and the Ministry of Health.
Speaking during the signing on Thursday, the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) Secretary-General George Gibore described it as a milestone which will pave the way for structured discussions that will improve their working conditions.
Gibore stated that the officers who will resume work Friday are going back because of the crisis that has crippled the health sector and hope that the government will address their concerns as promised.
“We are here to heed to the appeal of the Ministry and the Council of Governors, to have our members resume duty as we progress on the grievances that we registered. It is not because the issue has been resolved but it is a beginning to have the issue resolved. We know that a majority of our members are not happy,” he said.
Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok lauded the move and stated that they will organize more negotiations to be able to address the issues raised by the medics.
“I want to thank the union officials for heeding to the discussions and our appeals and we hope that in future engagements, there will be more negotiations which can always bear fruits and us from the Council of Governors, we know we will be able to have such to resolve the issues that involve our personnel,” he stated.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu urged the nurses who have been on strike for more than three months to follow suit and engage the government on the issues affecting them.
“The strike of the nurses has affected immunization among other services. But having recognized that, we know some services have been affected more than others and we want to urge them to also come down from their hard stance and engage us,” he said.
The Union issued the strike notice to the county governments over failure to pay their salaries since July to date.
It stated that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission had omitted the recommended allowances in its review of the clinical officers’ salaries, terming the move foolhardy and calculated to cause discontent in the sector.
The medics alleged that their employers had reneged on an agreement to evaluate their salaries, terms and conditions of work, saying the date they had agreed with their employers had elapsed, leaving them with no alternative but to issue a strike ultimatum.
KUCO Chairman Peterson Wachira blamed the industrial unrest gripping the health sector on pay discrepancies and inequalities, saying strikes will never come to an end as long as the situation persists.