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Court suspends nurses strike, orders negotiation with governors

by kenya-tribune

The court has suspended the nurses’ strike for 60 days.

This is after the Council of Governors sought an injunction to enable both parties to negotiate.

In a statement signed by CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, the council moved to court on Tuesday to challenge the legitimacy of the strike by the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

“The court has today suspended the strike for a period of 60 days and has ordered both parties to attend the conciliation process initiated by Labour CS Ukur Yattani. Thereafter, the parties will be required to file a report in Court,” the statement said.

The order comes just hours after the National Union of Nurses ruled out the possibility of engaging in any conciliatory talks with the Ministry of Labour.

“As a union, we are not going to engage in any further talks on issues touching on nursing service allowance and uniform allowance,” the union’s secretary general Seth Panyako said earlier.

Panyako, while addressing the press in Nairobi on Tuesday, said negotiations are done at national level and implementation effected by specific employers and that the council of governors gave the go-ahead to issue the strike notice.

Nurses in West Pokot, Kisumu, Nairobi, Kisii, Taita Taveta, Trans Nzoia, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Wajir, Elgeyo Marakwet and Kitui downed their tools demanding an increase of Sh5,000 in uniform allowances, Sh3,000 in nursing services allowance and promotion for the deserving nurses who’ve worked for more than 10 years in the same job group.

“I don’t understand why someone is telling us to go and meet in Nairobi in NSSF Building to discuss issues which according to me they have no power to take over those issues,” he said.

According to the SG, the CS had enough time to call for the talks as the union had issued the notice and given enough time for the ministry to take necessary action.

He said even though they support the President’s UHC agenda, people like Yatttani were out to make sure the agenda fail.

“We are willing and ready to engage in conciliation with the ministry and representatives from the two arms of government only to discuss the completion of CBA, grading structure and harmonisation of salaries of our members,” Panyako said.

CS Yattani on Friday appointed a conciliation committee led by Haron Mwaura in a bid to avert the nurses’ strike.

He gave the committee 30 days to come up with solutions and recommendations to avert strikes in the future.

The secretary general, however, noted the number of counties on strike has dropped to eight after the strike was suspended in Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kitui and Kiambu counties on Monday.

“We expect the numbers to go down even further as we are engaging officials from Nairobi, Kisii and Elgeyo Marakwet to ensure the strike is suspended and save poor Kenyans from suffering,” he said.

However, the number of striking nurses might rise should counties which had committed to effect the agreement fail to honour their pledge.

For instance, the strike in Homa Bay and Marsabit counties is expected to kick off today and on February 11 in Kwale, Garissa, Samburu, Kirinyaga and Embu.

Counties yet to receive strike notices are Baringo, Laikipia, Meru, Bungoma, Nyamira, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kilifi, Lamu, Nandi, Turkana and Uasin Gishu.

Only three counties, Mombasa, Machakos and Migori had honoured the November 2, 2017 return-to-work formula.

All the allowances were spread to be implemented in three phases from 2018/2019 financial year to 2020/2021.



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