Police have been ordered to protect nurses who will resume duties tomorrow.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said police have been instructed to ensure services go on undisturbed at affected health facilities.
“All the concerned commanders have been instructed to ensure that those nurses who wish to resume duty do so undisturbed,” he said on Thursday.
He added adequate security will be provided around public hospitals and that anyone acting in breach of the Public Order Act will be dealt with firmly.
This follows an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the striking nurses report back Friday failure to which respective county governments and the Ministry of Health shall dismiss them.
Kenyatta, who spoke Wednesday morning following a meeting with Council of Governors (CoG) representatives led by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, termed the strike illegal since it violates an order by the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspending the industrial action for 60 days.
“One of the most important principles upon which our republic is established is the rule of law – no one is above the law. Obeying court orders is not optional but a requirement to all of us,” Kenyatta said while directing nurses to resume duty by 8 am Friday.
He warned the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) against intimidating health workers willing to resume duty directing the police to take decisive action against protesters obstructing those willing to work.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, I have instructed the National Police Service to take decisive action against those picketers who may intimidate or otherwise harass public servants who intend to go to work,” President Kenyatta ordered.
Kenyatta noted with concern the huge sums of money gobbled up in recurrent expenditure saying at least 87.3 per cent of county budgets were channeled to expenses other than capital spending.
The strike which entered its second week on Monday was suspended by the court on February 5 to give room for conciliation talks spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani had on February 4 asked KNUN officials to call off a planned strike in 23 counties to provide room for dialogue.
KNUN General Seth Panyako however dismissed Yatani’s appeal saying the strike would continue as planned.
Panyako said only Machakos, Mombasa and Migori had honored a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in November 2017, with three others re-committing to the same.
The 23 counties affected by the strike include Nairobi, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Muranga, Kisii, Embu, Kiambu, Garissa and Elgeyo Marakwet.
Others are Nyandarua, Nyeri, Samburu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kirinyaga, Marsabit, TransNzoia, Tharaka Nithi, West Pokot, Kitui, Wajir, Kwale, Mandera and Taita Taveta.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko averted a looming strike by nurses after undertaking to honour the nurses’ CBA.
Nurses in Murang’a, Nakuru, Siaya, Busia, Bomet, Makueni, and Tana River were scheduled to join their colleagues in the ongoing industrial action.
The 2017 CBA provided for a 50 per cent increase in service allowance earned by nurses from the current Sh20,000 to Sh30,000 and a Sh 15,000 uniform allowance.
The November 2, 2017 deal was reached after a five-month work boycott that paralyzed health services in public hospitals. The nurses had downed their tools for close to 100 days in 2016.