Health workers in Tharaka-Nithi have suspended a strike that was to start today as the county administration moved to address their grievances.
Addressing the media at Chuka County Referral Hospital on Monday, Kenya National Union of Nurses county branch chairman Fabian Marigu said 133 health workers’ whose salaries were halted two months ago after they were accused of being "ghost" workers will be paid.
“We have extended our strike notice for two weeks to allow implementation of the agreements that we have made with county health officials,” Mr Marigu said.
He said the county has also agreed to promote all eligible health workers, harmonise strenuous allowances, remit all pending statutory deductions and improve working conditions in two weeks’ time.
Mr Marigu said the employer has not remitted deductions for the National Health Insurance Fund, bank loans and Higher Education Loans Board funds for two months.
“We have one of us who is held at Nkubu Mission Hospital after treatment because his NHIF card is not active and has no cash to pay,” he said.
Health Chief Officer Walter Mugambi said county officials will resolve the issues in the next two weeks.
He further said the county is reviewing the files of 296 workers eligible for promotions and they will receive their letters soon.
“Since 2013 we have managed to promote 84 workers and because it is a process we are set to promote more 296 after finalizing with their files,” Mr Mugambi said.
He, however, maintained that the 133 whose salaries were withheld must appear before the committee handling the matter for further directions.
“As government, we will not stop efforts to safeguard public resources,” he said.
He said the national government will pay Sh17.8 million to medics who qualified for promotions prior to 2013, when the sector was still Nairobi's responsibility.
“We have agreed with the national government that the county will not shoulder the burden of those who were supposed to be promoted before county governments were established,” he said.