Health Workers Strike Prolongs as NMS, CoG Skip Talks

  • Nurses protest outside Afya House in Nairobi during a nationwide strike on September 11, 2017.
    Nurses protest outside Afya House in Nairobi during a nationwide strike on September 11, 2017.
    Daily Nation
  • The health workers strike in the country is set to continue after key players in the dialogue failed to show up in a meeting convened by Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui on January 25, 2021.

    The CS held a meeting with officials from the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Kenya Union of Clinical Officers and the Ministry of Health.

    The unionists, however, expressed their displeasure after the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and the Council of Governors failed to send representatives to the meeting.

    Striking Kirinyaga health workers demonstrating in Kerugoya town on May 29, 2019.
    Striking Kirinyaga health workers demonstrating in Kerugoya town on May 29, 2019.
    Daily Nation

    During the meeting, the medical practitioners blamed the governors for the stalemate arguing that conclusive negotiations would see them resume work upon striking an agreement.

    The road to reaching an agreement with the county governments was further strained after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) maintained that it is only the commission that had the legal standing to adjust salaries in the country.

    “It’s very unfortunate that while we are told to play by the rules as the unions, the government entities treat the law as if it is an inconvenience to them,” KUCO National Chairperson Peterson Wachira stated.

    “As healthcare workers, our business is about health; health for the healthcare workers and health for the patient. If this cannot be guaranteed, I do not think there is anything that needs to be negotiated,” he added.

    He faulted the Council of Governors and NMS for frustrating the process of service delivery by allegedly taking the matter for granted.

    “Kenyans of goodwill must come out and call out government entities that are hindering them from enjoying health services,” Wachira stated.

    CoG has, however, maintained that the striking medical practitioners will have to negotiate a return to work formula at the county level with their respective governors.

    The failure to strike a deal between the health workers and the county governments has resulted in some of the devolved unit administrations laying off the striking staff.

    Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya speaking at the State of Devolution Address 2020 on July 23, 2020.
    Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya speaking at the State of Devolution Address 2020 on July 23, 2020.
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