Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang' Nyong'o has told medical workers in the county to shelve their planned strike, saying it would be disastrous at this time the country was battling Covid-19.
Prof Nyong'o said some of the grievances raised by the doctors, nurses and clinical officers have either been resolved or were in the final stages of being resolved.
The planned strike is due to start today at midnight, with Union officials representing the health workers claiming that the county officials have not resolved their grievances.
They are protesting delayed promotions, Covid-19 allowances and delayed salaries.
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But yesterday, Prof Nyong'o told the health workers to call off the planned strike as a committee formed to handle the matter, looked for solutions.
The committee, chaired by Kisumu County Assembly Health Committee chairman Vincent Jagongo, will "verify" concerns raised by the health workers.
"We will verify the complaints with the finance officials and solve the matter. In the meantime, we are asking the health workers to remain calm and continue with their work," said Jagongo.
Nyong'o also said that his government was working round the clock to ensure that salaries for promoted health workers would be updated and that the arrears arising from the promotion had been budgeted for in the 2020/21 budget which is to be passed by June 30.
"We have promoted 1007 health workers, doctors, nurses, clinical officers and they are enjoying their new salary as from May 2020 and the promotions have been backdated to July 1, 2019,” said Prof Nyong’o.
He added: "The remaining arrears will be paid once the budget has been passed in the coming days."
The governor spoke while presiding over the swearing in of two newly appointed CECs for the dockets of Roads and Education.
He asked health workers to join hands in delivering healthcare to the people during the pandemic as cases within the county were gradually rising.
"It would be disastrous to our people to go on strike for issues which have either been solved or are rationally and systematically been mutually dealt with and agreed upon," Nyong’o said.
He said he was open for dialogue and pleaded with the health workers to put the interest of the patients first.
The health workers have timed the strike to coincide with the Covid-19 pandemic which has shaken the country and strained health care services.
"I want to assure the medics that we are working with speed to ensure their welfare is addressed,” said Prof Nyong’o.
In a notice signed by Kenya Union of nurses (KNUN), Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) Kenya Union Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO), Union of Kenya Civil servants (UKCS) and the Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologist (KNUPT) note that their employer has failed to affect their promotions as the court ordered.
On salary delays, Opetu revealed that the April salary was paid in mid-May, March salary paid by the end of April while May salary is yet to be paid.
The Return to work formula signed between the county government and the healthcare workers states that payments must be effected by the 5th day of every month.
"As soon as the strike notice expires we will not step in the facilities but ask patients to seek alternative services," said Opetu.
The (KMPDU) Nyanza branch Chairman Dr. Kevin Osuri noted they were open for possible convincing talks with their employer but no one has reached out to them.
"Since we issued the notice, we have not made any single attempt to avert the looming crisis, time is elapsing and we will down tools," Osuri said.
Meanwhile Nyongo has taken a swipe at Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabir for terming his announcement of commencement of a major project as a roadside declaration
Prof Nyong'o told Mr Shakeel to stop commenting on projects he knew little about, adding that the MP did not know how the government budgetary allocations worked.
"I want to understand that one of the MPs from this area said since he is a member of the Parliamentary roads committee and that since he didn’t see a budget in this year’s budget, a project in Kisumu cannot be implemented," said Nyong'o.
Shakeel had last week criticised the governor after the later announced the planned construction of the 63 km Mamboleo-Muhoroni road, terming it a roadside declaration.
According to Shabbir, there is no budget allocation for the road in the coming Financial Year as claimed by the Governor.