Kakamega nurses suspend strike for two weeks

Monday January 15 2018

Kakamega nurses on strike.

Kakamega nurses on strike on July 26, 2017. They postponed their planned strike on January 15, 2018 for two weeks. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BENSON AMADALA
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Nurses in Kakamega County have called off their planned strike, at least for the next two weeks, giving patients in public hospitals some respite.

The local nurses’ union said they were delaying the strike to allow the County Executive time to address their grievances salary arrears.

PAY DEAL

Some 1,300 nurses had threatened to go on strike, demanding to be paid their salaries for September and October 2017, the period they had been on strike.

The nurses said they were frustrated by the county’s delay in paying them, yet it had struck a deal with the union over the matter.

Mr Renson Bulunya, the Kakamega Secretary of the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), said on Monday that MCAs had agreed to intervene to help resolve the issue.

“We have met officials of the County Assembly Committee on Health and Sanitation and agreed to suspend our planned strike for two weeks to give the County Executive time to address the issue,” said Mr Bulunya.

He said nurses in the region did not want to subject patients to suffering by withdrawing their services.

“We have been frustrated each time we went to meet officials from the County Health Services Ministry and decided to push ahead with the strike, the only option left for us,” said Mr Bulunya.

SOLUTION

The chairman of the County Assembly Health Committee, Mr Lucas Radoli, said he had briefed Governor Wycliffe Oparanya on the matter and he was confident it would be resolved.

“The governor has been very positive about the matter. He says he has no problem paying the salaries and has assured me that he will give the matter urgent attention,” said Mr Radoli.

The nurses said they would proceed with their planned strike if the county government fails to pay them.

But Mr Radoli said he was confident the matter would be resolved in two weeks.

Nurses nationwide went on strike last year for more than five months, throwing public hospitals into disarray.