Fresh details are emerging that twenty-two counties that have not agreed on a return-to-work formula may have spent money meant for paying nurses on retreats and bonding.
This revelation came to the fore yesterday during a meeting between the Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee and the Kenya National Union of Nurses officials. It was chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.
These counties include Kisumu, Kisii, Trans Nzoia, Taita Taveta, Embu, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Samburu, Kirinyaga, Busia, Meru, Narok and Bungoma. Others are Homa Bay, Tana River, Nyamira, West Pokot, Murang’a, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nakuru and Siaya.
Some might have used the money to ‘go and sun bathe in the name of bonding and retreats, reports indicate.
“The money that the nurses were to be paid may have been used on other issues because where did those that have effected the deal get the money from? Kenyans are dying yet people want to play games. We won’t allow that,” Sakaja lamented.
The nurses strike enters its fourth day today, despite the Council of Governors on Tuesday seeking to suspend the industrial action for 60-days. The nurses on Monday went on strike demanding Sh5,000 annually for uniforms and Sh3,000 per month for nursing services. Nurses receive Sh20,000 as nursing service allowance, which was to be increased to Sh30,000 over three years from 2017.
According to 2017 CBA between the county governments and the Kenya National Union of Nurses the uniform allowance was to be increased progressively. It was to reach Sh10,000 every year by 2021. Therefore this means counties need between Sh20-30 million yearly to effect the payment. The allowances were to be implemented in three phases from the 2018/2019 financial year to 2020/2021.
Mombasa, Migori, Machakos and Kwale counties have fully paid allowances as per the agreement.