Nurses to strike next week, fueling looming turmoil in public service

A section of KNH Nurses led by Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Kenyatta Hospital branch Secretary General Stephen Rutere addressing nurses. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
Nurses have vowed to go on strike next week, only days after civil servants and teachers threatened boycott work.

The nurses’ union yesterday announced that its members would boycott duty from February 4, citing failure by the Government to honour a new pay deal negotiated to end a strike last year.

The strike, if actualised, may affect health services in 23 counties.

Civil servants have also warned that they will strike if their demands for house allowance are not met by February 15.

Talks between teachers and their employer Teachers Service Commission, which were being brokered by the Labour ministry, have also reportedly hit a deadlock.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) affirmed that it had been pursuing the full implementation of the negotiated return-to-work agreement entered on November 2, 2017, in terms of enhanced nursing Service Allowance and Uniform Allowance, between the two levels of government and the union.

To date, the anticipated implementation of the agreement has not been fully honoured by the National and county governments.

The union faulted the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for constant misinformation even after various county governments committed to paying the money through their budget systems in the financial year 2018/2019.

“We want to report that the agreement has not been fully implemented by the two levels of government, apart from three counties,” said Knun Secretary General Seth Panyako.

Mr Panyako said the SRC had gone further to issue three conditions to be justified by the county governments as a gateway to enable the commission give authority to pay.

They are affordability, fiscal sustainability, fairness and equity.

He said 20 counties had not been issued with strike notices after they pledged to pay the allowances in full at the end of January and some in February.

They are Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kilifi, Lamu, Laikipia, Meru, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Siaya, Makueni, Turkana and Nyamira counties.

Machakos, Mombasa and Migori honoured and implemented the agreement fully.

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Nurses strikeKNUNKnun Secretary General Seth Panyako