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Nurses take on SRC over pay review

Health & Science - By Rawlings Otieno | May 26th 2015 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300
Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako (right) flanked by NEC member Stephen Ruteere during a press conference yesterday. Nurses opposed SRC's announcement that it will review salaries for public servants in two years. [PHOTO: WILLIS AWANDU/STANDARD]

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has opposed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) announcement that it will review salaries for public servants in two years.

The nurses accused SRC of distributing circulars intended to defeat the provision of the Constitution’s Article 41(5), which states that every trade union, employers’ organisation and employer has a right to engage in collective bargaining.

The union’s Secretary General, Seth Panyako, accused the Sarah Serem-led commission of overstepping their mandate as enshrined in the Constitution under Article 230(1).

“The announcement by SRC to review salary for public servants in two years after job evaluations is null and void,” said Mr Panyako.

Addressing the Press in Nairobi yesterday, the nurses said they had already instructed their legal team to take the battle to the corridors of justice to challenge SRC.

According to the Constitution, SRC was established to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers, and to advise the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers.

But the nurses argue that they do not fall under State or public officers but are merely civil servants.

SRC’s Head of Communications Ally Chege dismissed the nurses allegations, saying the job evaluations being carried out by the commission seek to establish the best remuneration for the work done.

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“It is wrong to peg job evaluations on abolishing collective bargaining. This is a constitutional provision that even SRC cannot suppress. Job evaluation will not abolish the collective bargaining,” said Chege. With unaffordability and unsustainability larger than earlier anticipated, SRC has rolled out job evaluations in the public sector.

Meanwhile, the nurses also opposed the implementation of the new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) deductions, saying public servants had their medical allowance of between Sh900 and Sh3,800 taken by the fund under the medical cover managed by NHIF.

They also want a review of the NHIF Act to remove the Government because it does not make any contributions to the kitty, yet it appoints the board.

“We must review the NHIF Act and remove the Government from appointing board members,” said Panyako.

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