Cotu backs striking nurses, tells governors to honour deal

Acting Cotu secretary-general Benson Okwaro said the national umbrella body will not allow employers to continue frustrating their members.

Dr Lore faulted the nurses’ union officials for giving tough conditions, that they will only call off the strike once the CBA is honoured.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has thrown its weight behind the striking nurses.

“The constitution is very clear as far as the workers’ protection is concerned and we appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Council of Governors to sit down and end the stalemate,” said Mr Okwaro, speaking on behalf of his boss Francis Atwoli, who is attending the International Labour Convention in Geneva, Switzerland.

READ: At least 10 die as nurses strike persists

He said the health sector was bleeding yet the government was splashing campaign money on issues that were not of national importance.

“Unless we address nurses’ issues, then we have no business as a country to talk of capital projects,” said Mr Okwaro.

GATHERING DATA

He said Cotu was gathering data to evaluate the extent of losses in terms of human suffering and economic loss since health was devolved and will soon make its recommendation to the national government.

“As at now, Cotu is of the opinion that it was wrong to devolve the health sector when the country was not ready for it,” said Mr Okwaro, who was speaking in Nakuru Town on Saturday.

READ: Talks on nurses’ strike hit a snag

He criticised the national government and the Council of Governors for refusing to sign the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“The national government and the Council of Governors have been changing goal posts to frustrate the nurses and this has culminated into suffering and deaths of innocent Kenyans,” said Mr Okwaro.

RESOLVE STALEMATE

He announced that on Tuesday, Cotu, the Ministry of Labour and nurses’ union officials will hold a mediation meeting in Nairobi to resolve the stalemate.

Meanwhile, in Tharaka-Nithi, the Kenya Health Professionals Society  called on the Kenya National Union of Nurses and the government to give dialogue a chance in order to end the strike.

The society’s national secretary-general Moses Lore said it was wrong for the two parties to shun negotiations while Kenyans are dying for lack of health services.

“Health workers should put the interest of the patients first and embrace dialogue when it comes to payment issues,” said Dr Lore.

 Additional reporting by Francis Mureithi and Alex Njeru.

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