KENYA: NURSES’ STRIKE KICKS OFF

NAIROBI, Nurses have boycotted work in some parts of Kenya to protest what they say is a breach of a collective bargaining agreement they signed with the government.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) had directed all its 45,000 members to strike starting Monday morning until the CBA is signed and implemented.

In Vihiga, all nursing services were paralysed as the caregivers met at Vihiga County Referral Hospital in Mbale and officially launched their boycott.

Patients were stranded at various health facilities, with many being caught unawares by the industrial action.

Kakamega Knun branch chairman Renson Bulunya and his Vihiga counterpart Caleb Maloba separately declared the start of the strike.

They said they want effected the CBA agreement that awarded each nurse a S2,000 allowance beginning January this year, an amount that was expected to rise to Sh20,000 in July.

“The government promised to sign the treaty in December last year but they have reneged on the promise,” said Bulunya.

But the job boycott failed to take off Mombasa and Nyeri.

Meanwhile, Governors sought to absolve themselves from blame over the nurses pay row and accused the salaries commission of delaying the signing of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Council of Governors chief executive Jacqueline Omogeni asked them to give the Salaries Remuneration Commission more time to approve the CBA.

“The Council reiterates that it is committed to the conclusion of this process in a manner that is legal, acceptable and registrable. There is no point in any side of the negotiating teams putting pressure on other partners. The negotiating team is awaiting just for a no-objection and then the process of signing will start” she said.

The nurses’ union has accused the counties of being insensitive to their plight.

The council and the commission held a meeting on May 26 in which they agreed to upgrade the pay for nurses and to have governors adopt the agreement by June 2.

This was however not done, prompting union to issue the strike notice.

The union’s acting secretary general Maurice Opetu on Friday directed the nurses not to report to work on Monday until their demands are met.

The strike threat comes six months after a return-to-work formula between the union and the governors was agreed upon.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK