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Threat to sack nurses not the way forward

By The Standard | Published Thu, September 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 13th 2017 at 21:59 GMT +3

The impasse on the nurses' strike that has entered its fourth month is devastating large sections of the country that largely depend on Government-run hospitals for medical services.

Already, the death toll attributed to the strike whose end is nowhere in sight cannot be quantified, as suffering Kenyans cry out to the Government to end the boycott.

However, the sad reality is that the national government has shown little interest in resolving the issue that it has conveniently passed on to the county governments, yet medical services are not a fully devolved function.

This calls for co-operation, rather than buck-passing, between the two tiers of government. The reaction of county governments has also been wanting.

After blaming the national government for the unfulfilled collective bargaining agreement of 2012 that is the root cause of the strike, county governments have threatened to sack striking nurses and replace them with new ones on a temporary basis.

It is a threat that has been ignored as nurses stand their ground while the national government warns the county governments not to effect the layoffs without actually giving a clear way forward.

The nurses' grievances are valid, yet it is our belief that if the Government showed a commitment and willingness to talk to them under favourable conditions - away from unnecessary threats - it is likely that both parties could meet halfway and put an end to the strike.