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Demands unrealistic, Meru tells health workers after strike threat

Saturday February 15 2020

Knun Meru chair Bakari Munoru

Bakari Munoru, Kenya National Union of Nurses' Meru branch chairman, addresses health workers at Meru Level Five Hospital on a looming strike, February 14, 2020. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu has accused county health workers, who have threatened to strike in two weeks, of making unrealistic demands.

Mr Ntuchiu, who is also the Finance executive, said a strike would be illegal.

He noted on Friday that the county was keen on meeting the medics' demands but was limited by the lack of funds.

The medics, who suspended a strike two weeks ago, warned on Friday that they would issue a notice next week and withdraw from all talks.

They are members of organisations including the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun), Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU) and the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco).

The unions said Meru has failed to commit to promotions in all cadres, statutory deductions amounting to Sh38 million for November and December, and employment of more health workers.



Regarding the staff shortage, Mr Ntuchiu said the county was working on solutions.

“On the delays in remitting statutory deductions, we have explained that this is a result of delays by the exchequer. The last time we received money from Treasury was December," he said.

"I cannot pay statutory deductions without money. They do not care whether I have money or not. They are being unrealistic."

The deputy governor said the county was also implementing common cadre promotions and that others would follow with the availability of more money and vacancies.

“We cannot promise to promote other cadres because we do not know what we will receive from the exchequer in the next financial year. Such promotions are not mandatory hence this demand is also unrealistic,” Mr Ntuchiu said.