Nurses in public health facilities are now demanding to be paid Sh20, 000 risk allowance monthly after the government awarded striking doctors a similar amount.
This comes after nurses accused the national and county governments of lacking goodwill in negotiations to finalise a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which has now been postponed for two weeks. It is not yet clear if the demand for the allowance will complicate the CBA negotiations.
In a letter to the Ministry of Health and Council of Governors dated 10th March, the Kenya National Union of Nurses General Secretary Seth Panyako said that nurses face 30 times more risk than doctors in their line of duty and deserve that payment.
The union wants the payment of the allowance backdated to 1st July 2016 as is the case with doctors.
Panyako asserted that the government knows well about a research that was conducted at Kenyatta National Hospital in 2005 that showed that nurses face thirty times more risk of contracting infections within health facilities than other cadres of health personnel.
"The Union has noted that the government has proposed to pay Medical Doctors a risk allowance of Sh20, 000 per month which we hasten to thank and support the government for the decision," he wrote.
He added: "However, we wish to strongly inform the government that the allowance should similarly apply to nursing staff. We look forward to the government effecting the new enhanced risk allowance to all nurses within the public sector."
Knun has agreed to extend the period of negotiations for a new CBA by another two weeks as requested by the two levels of government.
"We are alive to the fact that the government seems to lack goodwill as it has not given the union a counter-proposal on the CBA which should have happened by 8th March 2017," read the letter.
The letter is addressed to Health Cabinet Secretary Dr Cleopa Mailu, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Council of Governors, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Public Service Commission and County Public Service Boards Forum.