Homa Bay nurses strike over October payment

Nurses demonstrate in Homa Bay town over delayed salaries two years ago. [File, Standard]

Nurses in Homa Bay County have abandoned duty over delayed payment of their salaries.

The move could negatively impact the county's health system especially in regard to fighting Covid-19.

Through the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), the workers vowed not to return to work until their October salary was fully paid. 

KNUN Executive Secretary Omondi Nyonje said the union had resolved that they would not be on duty starting yesterday.

“We have not received the October salary yet it is what we rely on for our bus fare to work. Failure to pay us could as well mean someone doesn't expect us to report to work,”said Nyonje. 

He went on: “It is true that our families are also suffering because we cannot get money to meet their needs. It is simple; let the county pay us then we will resume duty."

He said the delay has also affected remittance of statutory deductions like loans, contributions to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The unionist feared that many nurses who fall under the category of frontline health providers would not afford medical care due to unremitted NHIF deductions.

“Failure to remit the statutory deductions will also culminate in huge fines on our members,” Nyonje said.

County Chief Officer for Health Gerald Akeche said the county was in the process of wiring money into the nurses’ bank accounts.

“We are committed to ensuring a seamless flow of activities in the health sector. Our nurses will thus be paid promptly to enable them to continue working,” Akeche said.

Patients seeking health services in county public hospitals have been forced to go to private facilities or out of the county.