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Nurses in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay resume work

Thursday February 21 2019

Kisumu nurses

An empty ward in Kisumu County Hospital on February 2, 2019. Nurses in the county have resumed work. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RUSHDIE OUDIA
By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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Nurses in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay have called off their strike a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga visited Nyanza and urged them to resume work.

The nurses decided to report back to work to allow negotiations between their union and various government and county agencies.

Migori nurses never went on strike as they had already reached a deal with Governor Okoth Obado’s administration.

WORK CLOSELY

In Siaya, before an agreement was reached Wednesday evening, Governor Cornel Rasanga had directed Heath executive Dorothy Owino to recruit nurses to replace those boycotting work.

Mr Rasanga had asked his Health minister to work closely with the public service board to recruit the 350 applicants if nurses failed to resume duty in the next 20 hours.

His Kisumu counterpart had also called for fresh recruitment but only a handful applicants were interested.

“We have agreed that the nurses report back to work immediately. Within 60 days, we will have heeded to their demands,” said Kisumu Health minister Rosemary Obara.

According to Siaya County Director of Communications Mr Jerry William Ochieng’, the suspension is meant to give a chance to the on-going reconciliation efforts at the national level among the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), the Council of Governors and the nurses’ union according to a back to work agreement signed on Wednesday by union and county officials.

Apart from the bargain for enhanced service allowance from June 2018, the nurses are also demanding complete implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement resulting from a previous strike and a new grading structure based on the nurses’ job evaluation.

SALARY ARREARS

In Homa Bay, Kenya National Union of Nurses County Executive Secretary George Bola said the union and the county government had signed a return to work agreement.

The union asked the government to pay all salary arrears owed to the nurses.

Mr Bola also urged the government to give permanent appointments nurses on contract and promote others by end of next month. He asked the government not to victimise nurses who participated in the strike.

“The county public service Board shall remain open to negotiation, we realised that many residents suffered due to the strike,” said Mr Awiti who added that they would hire 143 more medical workers.

“We plan to hire 75 nurses, 10 doctors, three surgeons and laboratory technicians who will be distributed across various health facilities in the county,” the governor said.