Nurses’ strike enters day two in over 10 counties

Written By: Rose Welimo/Claire Wanja
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The Kenya National Union of Nurses has poured cold water on conciliatory efforts initiated by Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to resolve the CBA impasse that has led to nurses in over 10 counties downing tools.

The Unions Secretary General Seth Panyako maintains nurses will only take part in talks that involve them and their employer.

Speaking KBC Channel One on phone, Secretary General Panyako said that the decision by the Labour and Social Protection SC to appoint a three member conciliation committee to avert the ongoing strike has come a little too late.

He pointed out that the union is not ready to take part in negotiations with any party other than their employer which is the Ministry of Health.

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Panyako confirmed that the strike has been suspended in Mandera, Vihiga, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kitui and Kiambu counties while services are still affected in West Pokot, Kisumu, Nairobi, Kisii, Taita Taveta, Trans Nzoia, Elgeiyo Marakwet and Wajir Counties.

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Nurses in other counties like Muranga , Busia, Nakuru, Siaya, Narok, Bomet and Makueni are planning to start their strike on 18th of this month.

Panyako saying that they will issue the strike notice for Makueni county Tuesday.  KNUN officials are also in talks with the county government of Lamu to agree on whether the county will join in the industrial action or not.

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Nurses in at least 10 counties downed tools on Monday demanding implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated with county and the national governments in November 2017.

Panyako vowed that services will continue to be interrupted in all the affected counties until their demands are met.

Meanwhile, the Council of Governors Tuesday moved to Court to challenge the legitimacy of the on-going strike by the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

The Court Tuesday suspended the strike for a period of 60 days and ordered both parties to attend the conciliation process initiated by Amb. Ukur Yattani, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.

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Thereafter, the parties will be required to file a report in Court and the matter will be mentioned in court for further directions.

According to a statement by Council of Governor chairman Wycliffe Oparanya says the Council of Governors is already on the table in talks through the conciliation committee and reiterates its support to the conciliation process.

“ We, therefore, call upon KNUN to call off the strike as ordered by the competent Court to allow the conciliation process to be concluded. Meanwhile all Nurses are required to report back to their work stations to provide services to Kenyans.” He added.

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