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Reprieve for patients as nurses suspend planned strike

Health & Science - By Graham Kajilwa | January 31st 2016 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

A nurses’ strike that was to commence on Monday has been suspended for 30 days.

The industrial action that was to take effect in three counties, Kiambu, Kakamega and Tana River, including the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, has been suspended to allow negotiations in respect to a court order and plea from the county governments.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Secretary General Seth Panyako yesterday directed nurses to report to work tomorrow.

In Kakamega County, Justice Moureen Onyango directed a report to be filed within the 30 days on negotiations. At the lapse of the period the ministry of labour for Kiambu County is also expected to have resolved the strike through dialogue.

Tana River County Governor Hussein Dado has reportedly pledged to present confirmation and promotion letters to the nurses in seven days.

“It should be known that on expiry of the respective suspension notices, Knun shall still mobilise all members to proceed with the strike without further references to the respective employers if the issues raised will not have been amicably resolved,” said Panyako at the union’s office.

Mistreat workers

The union complained that after devolution of health, instead of the national government taking services to the counties it is busy coming up with structures and equipment: “The Constitution is right on devolution just that some functions were given without due process an some counties are just out to frustrate workers.” Of all the 47 counties, Panyako singled out Kakamega and Nairobi County as the most notorious in mistreating workers over salaries.

The latter is said to have fired 67 nurses and a clinical officer since Governor Evans Kidero took office.

“Kidero has allowed cartels to run the sector and mistreat workers. He has even gone ahead to promote the same cartels so that they can have more powers over the workers,” he claimed.

Despite the recent shake-up in the county, Dr Bernard Muia still retained the Health Services docket.

Panyako vowed to ensure Dr Kidero is not re-elected in 2017 gubernatorial elections.

Contracted nurses at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret claimed they have worked for four years without being confirmed on permanent basis.

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