Health crisis: What is in the contentious return to work deal?

The on-going nationwide nurses’ strike may persist longer after it emerged that the Council of Governors has adamantly refused to sign a return-to-work formula that has so far been established.

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation is in possession of an agreement document containing the contentious 14 key points that will ensure health care services return to normalcy and that the governors have shied away from.

A source who has requested anonymity said the nurses who have been on strike for a month now will resume work once their demands are met.

On Wednesday the Council of Governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya was reluctant to respond to how county bosses will resolve health issues affected counties.

The health workers including clinicians and doctors have accused Council of Governors that has backtracked on the deal of being insincere.

The return to work deal was hammered out after the multi-agency team and the nurses union-KNUN reviewed their respective positions and resolved among others that; Employer to review Risk allowance for nurses to a minimum of Ksh15,000, fast- track and finalize CBA negotiations and register it in court latest 26th February 2021, that Nurses who have been hospitalized and paid their own bills be compensated, that the parties agree to follow the laid down dispute resolution mechanism in dealing with future disputes.

The document further says that all nurses will return to work immediately or within 24 hours upon signing of the agreement.

While many Kenyans continue to suffer following paralyzed services at the health facilities, it now appears that the buck stops with the County leaders.

The parties agreed:

  • Employer to review Risk Allowance for nurses to a minimum of KHs. 15,000.
  • Fast-track and finalize the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations and register it in court on or before 26 th February, 2021.
  • Nurses who have or may succumb to the COVID-19 and other illness as well as accidents before the operationalization of Comprehensive Group Life, Last Expense, Enhanced Work Injury Benefits (WIBA) and Group Personal Accident Cover as provided for by NHIF shall be compensated by the employer within the two levels of government, applying the new rates.
  • All nurses who have been hospitalized and have paid their own bills due to the absence of Comprehensive Medical Insurance Cover shall be refunded the funds they had spent on treatment by the employers within the two levels of government
  • The nurses who are employed on contracts including UHC shall be paid salary and allowances in accordance with the law and Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual for the Public Service 2016. The National Government will release the stipend for BScNs interns within two weeks.
  • The National Treasury to fast-track release of the required budgetary allocations to enable the Counties to procure a Comprehensive Group Life, Last Expense, Enhanced Work Injury Benefits (WIBA) and Group Personal Accident Cover as provided for by NHIF. Additionally, counties will make arrangements to procure the Comprehensive Medical Cover as provided by NHIF on expiry of the running contracts signed between the Counties and other Insurance providers subject to set timelines by inter-agency committee recommendations held on 14 th December 2020 at Harambee House and communicated through circular indicated in Paragraph 3 above.
  • All Nurses to return to work immediately or within 24 hours upon signing of this agreement.
  • The parties agree to follow the laid down dispute resolution mechanisms in dealing with future disputes.
  • Unconditional release of all withheld salaries arising from this industrial action. The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to conciliate on the pending issues so as to find a lasting solution to the grievances by health workers.
  • The employer endeavors to provide adequate and quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPES) to all nurses.
  • The two levels of government shall implement the proposals contained in the letter from the Principal Secretary Mrs. Mary W. Kimonye. Ref: No. MPSG.DPSM.2/7/3A titled Consultative Meeting on issues raised by Health workers.
  • The employers undertake that no Union member will be victimized or subjected to any form of victimization including arbitrary redeployments and shall unconditionally withdraw all show cause letter, Suspension letters and Dismissal letter issued to our members during the period they were on strike. Further the letter Ref: COG/6/40Vol.60(89) dated 21 st December 2020 from the Chairman, Council of Governors shall be withdrawn forthwith.
  • The signatories herein have full and lawful mandate whether inherent or delegated to execute this return-to-work formula.
  • That this agreement shall serve as consent for adoption in court, and applies to all suits filed in court related to the strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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