A health crisis is in the offing beginning today as nurses are set to begin their countrywide strike following the government’s failure to agree on the harmonized Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) agreed last year.
The nurses have resolved to down their tools beginning midnight in order to force the national and county government to implement the CBA.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) deputy secretary General Morris Opetu yesterday confirmed that the strike is still on as no agreement had been reached.
He expressed concerns that the county and national government failed to append their signatures on the CBA despite them having finalized on the same.
According to him, nurses agreed to go back to work last year after they signed a return to work Formula but agreed to finalize on the CBA later
He said: “We had agreed on everything the only thing that was pending was for us to append our signatures but this did not happen and with that I can confirm to you that the strike is still on beginning midnight.”
In March this year, the union officials threatened to ask its members to strike after National and County Governments failed to address the concerns raised by the union on the harmonisation of nurses’ salaries.
This is after a meeting held between the union and National and County Governments on February 27 and 28 failed to reach consensus on the harmonisation of salaries.
KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako said the failure to address the concerns raised by the union was an act of the betrayal of good faith expressed by the union in suspending the strike on December 14 last year.
In December 14 last year, KNUN signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health and Council of Governors (CoG) effectively suspending a week-long strike which had commenced on December 5.
Under the truce, the parties agreed to expedite the conclusion of the harmonised CBA by March 2, something that is yet to happen.
The December accord was signed by all the Chairpersons of County Service Boards with the assurance that nursing service allowances would be disbursed subsequently.
Contained in the 7-point agreement, was a requirement that the deal be incorporated in the comprehensive harmonized CBA that was to be formulated within two months for the period of between 2017-2021.
Also included in the pact was a commitment by the National Government to offer nurses a monthly increase in nursing allowances amounting to Sh20,000 for those in Job Groups G to L and Sh15,000 for Job Groups M and above.
The monthly increase was expected to be paid in two tranches in the ratio of 60:40 with the first amount of 60 per cent payable by January 1.