Health services in Nakuru County have been paralysed after nurses downed their tools demanding payment of salary arrears.
The more than 1,000 nurses under the Kenya National Nurses Union (KNUN) are demanding for the July salary.
KNUN Nakuru chapter secretary-general Syprene Odero said the county employees downed their tools on Tuesday. after the county failed to give a solution to the matter.
Odero said the county promised to pay the employees last week, a pay that has not been forthcoming.
“Nurses shall continue to work from home until money reflects in our accounts,” said Odero.
The union representative added that most nurses are financially strained, with some not having transport to report at their workplaces.
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“With the current economy, nurses are struggling due to lack of pay, yet they are expected to pay rent, and also afford meals for their families,” she said.
Asked if she issued the county with strike notice, she said it was not necessary, because pay of salary is a must, failure to which someone has no reason to report at work.
“We do not have to give strike notices all the time. This time round, we decided to stay at home. We shall also not hold any demo, because we are observing set public health measures to prevent Covid-19,” she added.
A nurse at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital who requested anonymity because of fear of being victimized said a section of nurses were reporting on duty with others opting to stay at home.
“Nurses are demoralized after they failed to receive their pay and as it stands, we might go on strike at any time,” said the nurse.
The nurses have downed their tools at a time when there is a surge in Covid-19 cases in the county.
Cabinet Secretary of Health, Mutahi Kagwe has often urged county governors to negotiate with health care employees for smooth discharge of health care services, and enhance fight against Covid-19.
Health report indicate there are at least 671 Covid-19 positive cases in Nakuru County, among them, 27 are admitted in respective hospitals namely Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, Langalanga Health Center and Naivasha Sub County Hospital.
Health executive Kariuki Gichuki said admitted that the nurses have not been paid, including all county employees.
In a phone interview, Dr Gichuki said the department received a circular from Public Service, stating that payment of salary will be delayed.
However, the letter did not state timelines.
“It is true that everyone has not been paid, including myself. I cannot state when pay will be done,” said the official in an interview.