Despite the nurses strike being called off in Embu and Muranga county, the Kenya National Union of Nurses says that its still on. In Nakuru, the strike has brought operations at the Nakuru County Level Five Hospital to a standstill, with administrators warning other facilities against referring cases to the hospital. The hospital has suspended routine and outpatient services and is only dealing with emergency cases.
The strike has also spread to sub-county health facilities. KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako is accusing the Council of Governors of failing to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement signed 2013. The agreement states that all nurses were expected to receive Sh15,000 uniform allowance annually from the current Sh10,000 and Sh23,000 nursing allowance monthly from the current Sh20,000.
The CBA was signed by Council of Governors and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for implementation by respective county governments. The employer was expected to pay the allowances from July 1, 2018 but most of the counties are yet to pay up.
Panyako maintains that the strike is legal and that nurses shall continue pushing for the implementation of the CBA despite sacking threats; ”Nurses in 18 counties are on strike and shall not be intimidated by governors until salaries arrived on as per the CBA are fully implemented.
Governors have since moved to court to stop the strike amid accusations by the union that they are politicising the matter. The strike continues despite President Uhuru order to the counties and the Ministry of Health to sack nurses who defied a directive to return to work, saying the strike had been suspended by the courts.
In Narok nurses led by KNUN branch officials Elkana Misonge,secretary general Henry Onyancha chairman and Simon Maika organising secretary have vowed not to return to work until their grievances are addressed. Mr. Misonge says; ”We have tried in vain to reach out to the county government to discuss a return-to-work formula. The officials say even before the strike, the region was experiencing an acute nurses shortage.