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Meru health workers threaten to down tools over salary row

Sunday March 29 2020


Medics at a coronavirus isolation ward at the Meru Level Five Hospital. They have threatened to down their tools over pay row. PHOTO | COURTESY 

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Health workers in Meru County have threatened to go on strike from April 3 if their February salaries are not paid.   

The nurses, medical laboratory officers, medical practitioners and dentists, pharmaceutical technologists and clinical officers’ unions said they were not ready to risk their lives as the country battles coronavirus.

Through their union officials, the medics said they will down their tools on April 3.  

Led by Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union upper Eastern Region Chairman Dennis Mugendi, the officials advised patients to stay at home as normal services would grind to a halt should they not be paid by April 3.

Addressing the press at Meru Show ground on Saturday, the medics said most of them could not meet their basic needs.

“Health workers are on the frontline in combating Covid-19 pandemic, they are risking their lives while all Kenyans have been advised to stay at home,” said Dr Mugendi.



He added: “We are being told that one of the best ways to fight it [coronavirus] is high immunity and that is why we don’t want to work on empty stomachs. We are asking our medics to stay at home.”  

The medics, who said they felt exposed to coronavirus, also alleged that Meru Clinical Officers’ Secretary-General Moses Baiyenia was suspended indefinitely without salary for allegedly addressing the media over their plight.

County Kenya National Union of Nurses’ Secretary Nesbitt Mugendi blamed the county government for being insensitive to their plight.


“We approached the government on our salaries and we are faced with great challenges and we cannot meet our [financial] obligations.

Another official Mr Elias Mutuma said they were frustrated since other counties were paying their workers risk and special allowances in the wake of coronavirus yet they have not been paid their February salaries.

They alleged that they were receiving threats from financial institutions over un-serviced loans and non payment of other statutory deductions.