Casual labourers at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital have downed their tools over unpaid salaries for the last three months.
The workers, who are hired through a private firm, Neru Kenya Limited, said this was the third time their salaries were being delayed without an explanation.
They vowed not to return to work until they are paid.
“We are not going to bow to any negotiations or intimidation by anyone. All we want is our money in full,” said a worker who sought anonymity.
However, the hospital’s medical superintendent, Silas Njoroge, said the county had deposited money in the bank to pay the workers. He, however, could not specify how much was deposited.
The workers demanded their salary arrears, higher pay and necessary facilitation while working at the hospital.
The workers said they receive Sh7,000 a month with no allowance, while hired directly by the county government are paid Sh14,000.
“We do not have a risk allowance yet they know the conditions in the hospital,” said a worker.
Currently, while the workers are out of the hospital, patients are not fed, waste is uncollected and laundry has not been done.
The workers also complained of being overworked at the hospital.
“This is not the first time we are complaining but our cries fall on deaf years,” they said.
They work from 6am to 6pm with one off day in a week and they said they are not compensated for overtime work.
The Nation contacted Neru Kenya Limited for comment, but phone calls went unanswered.
The casual labourers contracted by the firm were to hold negotiations with their boss in the course of the day.
At the same time, nurses in the county have given a strike notice over unpaid salaries. They plan to boycott work in three days if they are not paid.
The salaries they are demanding are for the five months they did not go to work during the countrywide nurses’ strike that paralysed operations in all public hospitals. The 151-day strike began on June 5 and ended on November 2.
Beatrice Nduati, the Secretary-General for the Nyeri branch of the Kenya National Union of Nurses, said the county government is dishonest and lacks the good will to pay salaries for the five months.