President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed all striking nurses to report to work by Friday the 15th of this month by 8 am or face the sack.
Addressing the nation at Statehouse Nairobi after a meeting with the council of governors, the president further directed the National Police Service to take stern action against anyone who will intimidate or harass nurses who choose to resume their duties on Friday.
“All nurses should resume duty with immediate effect and in any case not later than Friday the 15th of February 2019 at 8:00 a.m…. accordingly, any nurse who fails to report to work as directed above will be dismissed by the County Governments and the Ministry of Health” he warned.
“The respective County Governments will, therefore, be at liberty to undertake any action, as they deem appropriate, against personnel who fail to resume duty as directed by the Employment and Labour Relations Court” he added.
While defending the government position the president termed the nurses strike illegal citing a court order suspending their strike for 60 days to allow for any negotiation and reconciliation meetings by the ministry of Labour, Council of Governors and the Kenya National Union of Nurses.
“It is therefore greatly disheartening to learn that some of our nurses have decided to engage in unlawful withdrawal of their labour against the determination of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, which suspended any industrial action for sixty days pending conciliation meetings between the County Governments, Ministry of Health and the Nurses’ Union. Moreover, it is disheartening to hear officials of the Nurses Union declare that they will not obey these Court Orders”, he noted.
The president said Kenya has a clear development agenda and an investment destination, and he will not allow unlawful industrial action to derail the current developmental momentum.
“Our Constitution and various labour laws, while granting the right to picket and participate in strikes, also provide for the process of determining public service remuneration by the Salaries Remuneration Commission whose advice has equally been disregarded” said the Head of State.
On Tuesday, Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said the council had moved to court challenging the legitimacy of the strike by the Kenya National Union of Nurses.
However, Nurses have remained defiant and continue to demand the full implementation of return to work formula that would see nurses receive increased allowances including salary and uniform allowances.
Only four counties Mombasa, Machakos, Migori and Kwale have fully implemented the Collective Bargaining Agreement.