Nurses dare governors and ministry over strike

Thursday February 07 2019

Members of Kenya National Union of Nurses in Elgeyo-Marakwet stage a protest in Iten town on February 5, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Nurses have dared the Health ministry and Council of Governors to file for contempt after they refused to return to work as ordered by court.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako on Thursday said they will defy the call by county governments and the ministry asking them to report to work immediately in compliance with a Tuesday court order.

“If the Council of Governors and Ministry of Health feel there is a court order being disobeyed, let them go back for contempt against the respondent,” Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako said.


In a statement signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya, they reiterated that they are committed to cooperate with the conciliation committee established by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on Monday, and hence asked the nurses to return to work.

The two noted that the ministry and CoG had each submitted a memorandum of reply and said they would fully comply with the conciliation process.


Mr Panyako, on the other hand, insisted that nurses would not go back to work. “The strike was not called by CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya and the ministry and it will not be called off by them.

“The strike has just begun. We are going to show them that if they dare play with our members’ lives they will have themselves to blame,” he said.

Mr Michael Opetu, Knun deputy secretary-general, said: “Why do governors think they will use other means to demean nurses? We are not going to be cowed by their threats; we will fight them until they implement the CBA. We have been lenient with them from 2017.”


Nairobi, Migori, Kwale and Machakos counties have cleared their allowances, while Mombasa, which had honoured the CBA, withdrew the uniform and nursing service allowances from the January salary.

The nurses have issued an 11-day notice after which they will go on strike on February 18 if the allowances are not paid.

Addressing the press, Knun Mombasa branch secretary-general Peter Maroko said the county government negated an agreement they had on January 17 despite a commitment and proof through payslips that they were going to pay nurses the allowance.

He added that the withdrawal of the allowances caught them by surprise and he wondered who pressured the county since devolved units are independent.