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Kisumu nurses vow not to return to work until demands are met

by kenya-tribune
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Nurses in Kisumu have vowed not to return to work until their demands are met.

“Call the Salaries and Remuneration Commission or the Council of Governors if you want a nurse,” one protester told the Star on Monday.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) officials accused the county of deliberately refusing to implement their return-to-work agreement signed on November 2, 2018. The deal was signed between KNUN and the two levels of government.

In the agreement, all nurses are entitled to nursing service and uniform allowances, which have not been paid from July 2018.

“We want to tell the county government that the strike will continue until we see money in our accounts,” KNUN deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu said.

He said they will stay away from work until Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o returns from a two-day trip in Brussels and pays their money.

Opetu said it’s unfortunate that every time they try meeting county officials over their pay, they are always given excuses.

“We are sorry to residents because we won’t be offering them services. The county has refused to pay us yet it agreed to sign the agreement,” he said.

“When we were signing the return-to-work formula, we didn’t place a gun on someone’s head but they signed it willingly and must fulfil it.”

According to the officials, a letter by the county government dated December 5, 2018, confirmed the availability of funds which were factored in 2018/19 financial year budget for paying allowances backdated to July 2018.

“Therefore, the county should have paid us to avoid the strike and disruption of services that will cause unnecessary suffering. Nurses give over 80 per cent of overall health services in our health facilities,” Opetu said.

He, however, said KNUN was committed to working with other stakeholders and social partners in realising the Universal Health Coverage.

But this can only work well if the pending labour disputes are settled to provide a harmonious working environment, Opetu said.

KNUN officials thanked Migori, Machakos and Mombasa counties for implementing the pay deals.

“We urge the SRC to stop changing goal posts on the issues of the nurse’s return-to-work agreement implementation by diverting the spirit of mutual understanding between the two levels of the government and our union,” Opetu said.

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