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Murang'a nurses sue governor Wa Iria over unpaid salaries

Friday March 23 2018

Mwangi Wa Iria

Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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Nurses in Murang'a have sued governor Mwangi Wa Iria and the county public service board for withholding salaries of at least 439 health workers who participated in last year’s five-month strike.

According to documents filed at the Nyeri Labour court, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) is also seeking orders to compel the county government release Sh1.8 million deducted from the nurses monthly income and not remitted to the union bank accounts.

The deductions were done from December 2016 to February 2018, Knun’s industrial relations officer Okatch Odongo indicated.

He said the nurses did not received their salaries and allowances between June to October 2017.

Mr Odongo indicated that the governor and the board, who are listed as respondents in the case, have blatantly refused to release the nurses dues contrary to a negotiated agreement signed between national and devolved governments.

He added that the Murang’a government is the only one which has not honoured the return-to-work agreement dated November 2, 2017 that brought to an end the prolonged strike.

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The officer explained that following the agreement, money was disbursed to county governments to subsequently pay the health workers.

“The county government has unlawfully issued orders to its agents not to pay the entitlements to the nurses without advancing any legitimate reason. They have a mandate to pay the salaries and allowances and ensure compliance with the Negotiated Agreement and a directive from Council of Governors dated January 5, 2018,” added Mr Odongo.

He disclosed that the union is under pressure to issue a new strike notice owing to the ‘unbecoming conduct of the respondents’.

While urging the court to direct the devolved government to calculate amount owed to the union and the nurses, Mr Odongo said the health workers’ labour rights are getting infringed.

He also decried that the county government was harassing and intimidating the nurses on basis of the labour dispute.

The case will be heard on May 3 before Justice Nzioki Wa Makau.

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