Workers of Trans Mara Medicare Hospital in Kilgoris have downed their tools to demand their salaries.
The workers who include; nurses, clinical officers and accountants at the private hospital claimed that they have not received their pay for the past six months.
“The last time we were paid was December last year. We have been literally living from hand to mouth not affording food, rent and personal effects,” said Mr. Simon Nyakach, their spokesperson.
He accused the hospital administration of turning a deaf ear to their demands and instead had resorted to threats to intimidate the workers.
“Our employer is utterly insensitive to our plight. He knows that we have families to take care of and other dependents, who look up to us, but every time we ask to be paid we are told to leave,” said Mr. Nyakach, a Health Records Information Officer.
Mr. Amos Ondiek, a clinical officer, accused the management of intimidating workers who are most outspoken in their demand for better working conditions.
“One of us was arrested last week for allegedly hiding NHIF claims forms. We can’t accept this kind of harassment because everyone who is employed has the right to fair and timely remuneration,” said Mr. Ondiek.
Mrs. Christine Rachami, a nurse, said that their problems have been compounded by the high cost of living which has seen a rapid increase in the price of essential commodities.
“Recently, I was forced to transfer my kids from an academy to a day school because of the high school fees which I can no longer afford,” said Mrs. Rachami, also a widow. She said that some female nurses risk their children’s lives by carrying them on their backs while at work.
The media has also learnt that the hospital lacks a laboratory. A nurse who asked not to be named for fear of retribution said that due to the lack of the facility, the management forces them to lie to patients about their conditions and therefore putting their lives at risk.
“Patients who come to seek medical care here only get well through the Grace of God,” said the nurse.
But in reply to their demands, the Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Sospeter Machage said the workers’ salaries have been withheld after their professional qualifications were found to be wanting.
“If someone is a ward attendant and claims to be a nurse, and these claims are proven wrong, then you’ll be in a dilemma about how to help him or her. But I cannot be arm-twisted to comply when I know there is something that has to be corrected,” he said.
Machage said that workers whose professional qualifications will be found to be ‘satisfactory’ will be paid when the hospital receives reimbursement from the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
But in a rejoinder, Mr. Nyakach said; “The hospital cannot use our educational background as a scapegoat for not paying us. If indeed, we were incompetent, why did it enlist our services in the first place?”