Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has decried the slow pace of negotiations of their new Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) threatening to down tools on March 3 if the talks would have not been completed.
KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako yesterday issued a two-week ultimatum to the government to conclude the talks to avert the ‘biggest’ industrial action which he said will completely paralyse operations in all public health facilities in the country.
Panyako said the union has been committed to the talks with the government and County governments but the two entities have failed to reciprocate citing a yesterday’s case where the governments failed to turn up for negotiations without any communication to union officials who had traveled to the City for the talks.
“We have realized that the two levels of governments are not taking nurses union negotiation seriously and if the government fails to heed our call this will lead to irreversible devastating industrial action whose end will only be possible by registration of the CBA in court,” he said.
The nurses suspended their December 5 strike after signing of recognition agreement and agreeing on Nursing Service allowance (NSA) of between Sh 15,000 to Sh 20,000 for all nurses effective January 2017.
“I am ready to go to jail if that is what will make both government take our matter seriously and I would like to tell the government that December strike was just a warm up but this will be a mother of all strikes,” he said.
At the same time, the union boss directed his 300 members at Kijabe Mission Hospital not to report for work from Monday next week until the facility’s administration adjust their pay.
He accused the Kijabe Hospital management of non-corporation saying they have refused to release key negotiation documents to KNUN officials for the purposes of pay talks.
“Kijabe Mission Hospital should provide information as information as required by Labour Relation Act Section 57(2) to help in concluding of the CBA and subsequent registration before midnight of Sunday if they do not want to close the facility, “he said.
Panyako also warned all nurses against carrying any laboratory duty including HIV Test stating that is not within their scope as was ruled by a Kwale Court last month.
“We will defend the arrested nurses from Kwale because they were not aware but this is a warning to other nurses to stick to their line of duty and should stop acting as doctors following doctors’ strike,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the health sector in Elgeyo Marakwet County has been paralyzed after various cadres of health personnel downed their tools over what they termed as discrimination in the payment of allowances to nurses in the county.