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Patients’ relief as Meru health workers end three week strike

Wednesday October 26 2016

Meru County Secretary Julius Kimathi (right)

Meru County Secretary Julius Kimathi (right) and Knun Meru branch Secretary-general Nesbitt Mugendi exchange copies of the agreement signed on October 25, 2016 regarding promotions of health workers. The health workers ended a three-week strike. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MUCHUI
By DAVID MUCHUI
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Health workers' unions in Meru have called off a three-week strike after they entered an agreement with county government officials.

The workers downed their tools on October 5, 2016, accusing the county government of failing to promote them.

Union officials representing nurses, laboratory technologists, pharmacists and public health workers led by Dismus Kigen, the legal officer for the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), held talks for two days with county government officers before they entered a binding agreement Tuesday evening.

They agreed that promotions will be implemented by December 16, 2016 and be fully executed by January 2017.

October salaries will be paid by November 5, according to the agreement.

The county government was represented by Health executive William Muraa, County Secretary Julius Kimathi, officials from the county public service board and the human resource department.

Meru Knun secretary general Nesbit Mugendi said all health workers are required to resume their duties Wednesday at 7.30am.

"We have agreed on all the issues that made us to call this strike. We expect the county government to honour the agreement. I urge all workers to report to their work stations without fail," Mr Mugendi said.

HONOUR AGREEMENT

The Knun lawyer said the workers would down their tools on December 26, 2016 if the county government does not honour the agreement.

Mr Muraa said the county government had allocated money to promote more than 1,100 health workers.

"This year, we have a budget of Sh1.46 billion for salaries compared to Sh1.23 billion in the previous year.

“We are glad that we have been able to resolve the dispute. We are committed to providing quality health services," he said.

Earlier, Meru Governor Peter Munya had said the county government is ready to promote health workers once they call off the strike.

Mr Munya said the county government had shown commitment to promote the workers by allocating funds, advertising the positions as well as processing 66 promotion letters before the strike started.

“We are spending more than Sh2 billion in health, translating to 30 per cent of the county budget.

“However, we have allocated funds for promotions in the 2016/2017 budget.

“We are ready to promote them while they are at work,” Mr Munya said.

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