The National Police Service has issued a warning to striking nurses following an executive order by President Uhuru Kenyatta directing they go back to work.
In a statement the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett informed the public that all the concerned commanders have been instructed to ensure that nurses who wish to resume duty do so undisturbed.
The IG further said that adequate security will be provided around public hospitals and anyone found acting in breach of the Public Order Act will be dealt with firmly.
This follows instructions by President Kenyatta that all nurses in public hospitals who are on strike to comply with the Court Order and resume duty without fail by Friday 15th at 8 am or face the sack.
“Following the instructions by H.E. The President to all nurses in public hospitals who are on strike to comply with the Court Order & resume duty without fail by Friday 15th February 2019 at 8 am, the National Police Service wishes to inform the public that all the concerned commanders have been instructed to ensure that those nurses who wish to resume duty do so undisturbed” the police boss said.
Meanwhile, the Council of governors (CoG) and the Ministry of Health maintain that the nurses’ strike is illegal.
In a joint statement Thursday, Health Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, and COG chairperson, Wycliffe Oparanya, said striking nurses face contempt of court charges if they do not resume work by Friday 8am.
Oparanya who delivered the joint statement said the Health ministry, the national government and CoG have agreed to file the charges because the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) members have ignored a court order that gave parties 60 days for conciliation. They said that Union officials have already been served with the court orders.
However, Nurses through their union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako have vowed to continue with the strike, saying that it was legally protected.
Panyako says nurses in 13 counties are on strike and beginning Monday next week their colleagues in nine other counties will follow suit.
If the threat by the nurses union officials is anything to go by, then from next week medical services will be paralyzed in a total of 24 counties.
Meanwhile, Central Organization of Trade Unions (K) and afflicted parties are calling for the immediate resignation of Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani for failing to advise President Uhuru Kenyatta on the best way to handle the ongoing nurse strike.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli accused Yatani for failing to avert the industrial action even as he called for dialogue to resolve the matter.
The industrial action is in phases and started on Monday 4th this year with nurses in seven counties downing tools.
In a contentious deal signed between them, national and county governments in November 2017 nurses were to get an increase in their uniform allowance of 15,000 shillings in the 2018/2019 financial year from the previous 10,000 shillings.
The allowance was expected to increase to 25,000 in the 2020/2021 financial year.
The nursing allowance was also to be increased to 23,000 shillings in the 2018/2019 financial year and finally to 30,000 shillings in the 2020/2021 financial year.