Kenya: Nurses’ strike continues as leaders fail to resolve issue

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) secretary-general Seth Panyako addresses journalists in Nairobi on September 23, 2017. He said the strike has not been called off. |

Nurses have vowed to continue with their strike until the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) they signed with the Council of Governors is honoured.

The nurses have been on strike since June 5 after the Council failed to register in court a CBA they signed on May 26.

ACCORD

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) secretary-general Seth Panyako on Saturday said the industrial action has not been put off and that no amount of intimidation would make them falter on their demands, the Daily Nation reports.

“We would like to tell our members that the strike is still on course and nothing has changed so far.

“All our members should continue until we get to an agreement with the Council of Governors,” Mr Panyako said.

SOLUTION
Mr Panyako blasted the governors for not ‘showing any interest’ in ending the stalemate.

“High government officials at county level have the key to unlock this stalemate and for them to sit back and say that they are not going to have the issue resolved is making us doubt where we are headed as a nation,” he said.

Knun deputy secretary-general Maurice Opetu also faulted the government for not being keen on resolving the issue.

“The nurses’ strike is still on until the CBA is registered in court because it is long overdue. Kenyans are not getting services but it seems nobody is bothered,” he said.

TALKS
He accused the national and county governments of not attending meetings focused on finding a solution to the strike.

“Ministry of Labour called for a conciliation meeting between the national government, county governments and union of nurses on September 19.

“We presented ourselves before the conciliator but both the county and national government did not turn up only for the strike to be termed illegal.

“This is very clear that the government is not keen and it shows that somebody could be compromising CoG to continue seeing Kenyans suffer and nurses on strike,” he added.

GRADING
In addition, Mr Panyako hit out at the latest job evaluation report by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that placed nurses in Band B3.

“We oppose the job evaluation report that was released on September 18 as it was misguided and lacked convincing attempts on how it was arrived at.

“We reject in total the rating putting nurses in Band B3 as it continues to grade nurses as unskilled people yet we should be in B and C.

He continued: “No nurses’ representatives participated in the evaluation and all recommendations by the nurses were not considered.”

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