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Wycliffe Oparanya urged to intervene to avert nurses’ strike

Sunday February 3 2019

Institute of Human Resources Management (IHRM)

Institute of Human Resources Management (IHRM) chairman Elijah Sitimah (right) and Executive Director Dorcas Wainaina address media at Cardinal Otunga Plaza in Nairobi on February 1, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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The Council of Governors (CoG) has been urged to intervene to avert nurses’ strike set to start on Monday over failure by several counties to implement a return-to-work deal agreed on two years ago.

Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) national chairman Elijah Sitimah on Sunday called on the CoG boss Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to convene a meeting with the various county public service boards and the nurses’ union to iron out their differences.

“We would want to urge the CoG and the boards in the various counties to come together with the nurses’ union to make sure that we have an amicable solution. We do not want to see another protracted strike that is going to harm our citizens,” said Mr Sitimah.

He expressed fear that if an agreeable solution is not reached, then Kenyans who rely on public hospitals are staring at suffering and pain similar to the 100-day doctors’ strike in 2017.

“People in public hospitals had it rough when there was a tug of war between SRC [Salaries and Remuneration Commission] and the county governments. We are likely to enter into another phase of strike if we do not get our act right,” he said.

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The IHRM boss said that they are ready to step in as mediators to avert the looming strike following their successful intervention during lecturers’ strike last year.

“We have qualified human resource personnel who are qualified in negotiating CBAs[Collective Bargaining Agreement],” said Mr Sitimah.

But on Saturday, Mr Oparanya said CoG is committed to work with the conciliation committee appointed by Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on Friday to examine nurses’ complaints and file a report within 30 days.

ALLOWANCES ROW

Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) General-Secretary Seth Panyako on Saturday said that 24 counties will be affected by the strike if the 2017 return-to-work formula is not fully implemented.

Only nurses in Mombasa, Migori, Machakos, Tharaka Nithi, Vihiga and Mandera counties have been paid the allowances or promised payment as agreed.

Mr Panyako said the negotiated agreement between the two levels of government entered into on two years for service and uniform allowances has not been honoured.

The counties that have breached the agreement are: West Pokot, Kisumu, Nairobi, Kisii, Taita-Taveta, Nyandarua, Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Wajir, Nyeri and Kitui. 

Several other counties have been issued extension on when to comply with the allowances agreement: Kiambu, Homa Bay and Marsabit counties have until February 6 while Kwale, Garissa, Samburu, Kirinyaga and Embu have until February 11.

Murang’a, Busia, Nakuru and Siaya counties have 15 more days to comply.