The country’s public health will likely be paralyzed again if the renewed strike threats by the Kenya National Union of Nurses is to go by, reports one of the leading daily’s.
Similar 100-day strike by the Kenya Medical Practioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) saw the loss of lives in the public health institutions. Higher wages, improved working conditions and hiring more medics were the demands tabled by the union officials to the two levels of government.
The health sector is one the verge of collapse if the concerned authorities fail to amicably and legally respect the collective bargaining agreement that has become a thorn in the flesh for a long time now.
In 2016, the nurses stopped providing health service for three weeks following their demand for the national and county government to honour the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Governors have been accused by the union for failing to honour the CBA, extending empty promises and failing to respect deals agreed upon by the stakeholders.
On their argument, council of governors is working to ensure the negotiations follow the right procedure to avoid legal hurdles when registering the 2013 CBA.
The nurses demanded that those in job group G-L to receive monthly allowance of Kshs 20,000 and Kshs 15,000 for those in M and above to harmonise the deal. The agreement, which was supposed to be signed on June 2, never saw the light of the day and this worried the health workers.
The tug of war between the different parties resulted in the National Executive Council of the union to announce a nationwide strike that commences on Monday, 5th June, 2017 if the deal is not sealed in accordance with the law.
“It is very unfortunate, painful, but as nurses, we are left with no option but to take the position we have taken today. Between now and Monday, if the deal is not signed, the nurses are not going to report on duty on June 5. We are going to down our tools at midnight on Sunday”, says Maurice Opetu, KNUN’s acting secretary general.
“We have been patient from December to date. The council of governors has chosen to remain silent except doing an irrelevant communication to SRC not mentioning the resolution of the meeting of May 26 and minutes signed therein,” he adds.
According to the union, the two levels of government received ample time to fasten the negotiation process and forward their grievances to the salaries and remuneration commission to finalize the deal.
By 2015, there were 73,562 nurses in the country, according to figures from the nursing council of Kenya with majority of these having degrees and diplomas.