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KNH staff down tools demanding enhanced pay under hospital’s upgraded status

A union official addresses KNH staff during a strike on September 9, 2019./CFM.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) staff downed their tools on Monday over failure by the hospital’s management to implement an improved salaries and allowances structure, after a resolution was passed to upgrade the facility to a parastatal status.

The resolution passed in 2012, upgraded the hospital’s parastatal status from category 3C to 7A, and as detailed in a circular dated September 13, 2012, the upgrade came with an improvement in the salaries of all staff.

The workers under the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA) have accused the KNH board of overlooking the circular that saw KNH staff re-categorized to better salary and allowances.

“Please note that the salary band should be used by the Board in the determination of salaries for the rest of the staff,” read part of the letter that was signed by the then Health Principal Secretary Mary Ngari.

After the 2012 resolutions, a letter addressed to the then KNH CEO Richard Lesiyampe outlined how the salaries will be calculated.

The lowest basic salary for the CEO was set at Sh400,000 and maximum capped at Sh560,000 alongside a house allowance ranging between Sh60,000 and Sh80,000.

“The main problem is that they have only implemented changes to the salary of the CEO leaving out the rest of the staff, yet the letter clearly indicated that the chages were to cut across all the staff,” said Albert Njeru, KUDHEIHA’s Secretary General, who addressed the striking workers outside the hospital on Monday.

While the CEO’s basic salary was settled at Sh400,000, that of the lowest worker was set at Sh17,535.

The changes in remuneration were to be reflected in the workers’ basic salaries and allowances, including house and leave allowances.

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The staff also lamented that they are being discriminated against as other parastatals that were re-categorized –  Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)  – are already enjoying their benefits.

They said failure to implement the changes in their salaries amount to discrimination, vowing to cease offering services, until their demands are met.

“We are asking should KNH staff always have to come out protesting to be given what they are supposed to be given? This is total discrimination and we will not tolerate it,” said Richard Meme, one of the officials.

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