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Health workers shun Kisumu County hospitals as July pay stalemate persists

Hospital beds were seen empty while doors to other services such as laboratories, pharmacies remained under lock and key/CFM – OJWANG JOE

KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 19 – Public hospitals in Kisumu County remained deserted on Monday as doctors and nurses kept off county health facilities over delayed July salaries.

The hospitals remained unstaffed despite repeated assurances by the now impeached County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Finance, Nerry Achar, that the monies will be transferred to their accounts.

Achar last Thursday announced the County Government of Kisumu would pay its workers the delayed July salaries after mobilizing Sh300 million from its reserves.

Maurice Opetu, the Branch Chairperson for the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) on Monday said workers are still waiting for their salaries.

Opetu said health workers are now frustrated by the turn of events as no single coin has credited to their accounts.

“It is unfortunate that the county government of Kisumu is not caring about the people who voted for them, the citizens’ of Kisumu who need services of the workers,” he said.

Achar had announced on Thursday last week that the county government had mobilized Sh300 million to pay workers and pleaded with them to return to work.

Hospitals services were halted last week when workers started “salary parades” to demand their delayed funds as a result of a stalemate on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.

Hospital beds were seen empty while doors to other services such as laboratories, pharmacies remained under lock and key.

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READ: Kisumu County mobilizes Sh300mn to clear July salaries for striking staff

Opetu said the salary parade will continue as county workers demand for the disbursement of funds to pay July salaries and offset arrears for June.

He said statutory deductions have not been paid for the last three months putting the workers at logger heads with financial institutions.

“Remember our loans are not being serviced and right now we are getting notices that we have not serviced our loans for the last three months,” he said.

Hospital beds were seen empty while doors to other services such as laboratories, pharmacies remained under lock and key/CFM – OJWANG JOE

The union official accused the county government for being insensitive to the plight of workers who undergo a myriad of challenges while offering services to the people.

Opetu said the workers will not be drawn into supremacy wars between the County Assembly and the Executive that has led to delayed passage of the 2019/2020 Financial Year budget.

“We are going to get into their wars of supremacy, the war between the executive and the Assembly, we as the workers of this county is not going to be dragged into it,” he said.

“If they think that it was, they want to use for we are not going into that, immediately they pay our salaries we shall go back to work so that they continue with their politics,” he added.

Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo last week assured workers in the devolved unit that the Assembly will partially pass the budget to cater or the payment of the workers’ salary.

Opetu said going forward, the union will be firm with the county government that has refused to care about the welfare of the workers.

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KNUN expressed fury after the County Government failed to comment on the killing of one of their own a fortnight ago. The victim’s mutilated body was found in Nandi County.

“Time has come where in Kisumu we shall not take anything for granted, we are going not to sacrifice any more for this county because an employer who will come to you, sit with you and feel with you is the employer you can sacrifice for,” Opetu said.

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