Kenya National Union of Nurses issues fresh demand to county governments

Nurses Union secretary general Seth Panyako during a past press briefing. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: Kenya National Union of Nurses KNUN has directed 13 county governments to pay all nurses their withheld salaries of five months when they were on strike.

On 2nd November 2017, the KNUN, the county government through the council of governors and the Ministry of Health signed an agreement that required nurses to go back to work, which directed that all nurses be paid all their then withheld salaries on or before 31st December 2017.

In a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday, KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako said that 13 county governments have failed to pay what was agreed in the deal and that no explanation was given to the affected nurses and the union.

Following the incident, Panyako has now issued a notice to the employees to pay all nurses their outstanding dues immediately and in any case not later by the close of business today (Thursday) or else they will mobilize parades to demand their salary at the respective governors’ offices every day.

“We also direct all our members through their branch officials who are owed money by the concerned county governments to prepare and start having daily salary parades at their respective governors’ offices daily with immediate effect from 11th January 2018, untill all outstanding money is paid.” Said Panyako.

However, the Secretary-General gave an assurance to counties that will comply and make reasonable agreements or arrangements with the union Branch leadership at the county, that they will not be affected by the parades.

Some of the counties that have not complied with the terms of agreement include; Bungoma, Nakuru, Nyeri Homabay, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni, Kakamega, Wajir, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, and Kericho county.

Further, KNUN officials have faulted the illegal lockout of Nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lang’ata citing it as a barbaric move which should be condemned.

“We take this opportunity to condemn this beastly action and warn the employing agencies to respect labour industry mechanisms when dealing with employees. We also request all faith-based hospital not to infringe their employees’ rights and allow their nurses to be represented by the union of their choices.”

“We want to assure all the nurses of St.Mary’s that we will do all we can to secure their employment in this circumstance and request them to embrace the union. We take this earliest opportunity to warn the Assumption sisters of Nairobi from trying to employ nurses on contracts so as to take over from our regular nurses at St Mary’s Hospital in Nakuru.” He warned.

The union has however given an ultimatum of 14 days to the national and county Government to honour the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed or else  take further action.