Nurses at Kenya’s largest public hospital have threatened to down their tools on Tuesday and join their colleagues who have been on strike since Monday unless their employer signs papers to recognise their union.
The nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital are now demanding that the hospital’s board signs a recognition agreement with the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) before Tuesday, failure to which they will boycott work.
According to KNUN’s General-Secretary Seth Panyako, the KNH board also has to remit money from union members if the planned strike is to be avoided.
If the KNH nurses make good their threat, services at the facility will be strained further after doctors boycotted and forced the government to bring in medics from the Kenya Defence Forces.
Mr Panyako made announcement at a press conference in Nairobi on Saturday morning where he said the nationwide strike will go on until all counties sign agreements with KNUN.
“The recognition agreement between KNUN and the county governments must be signed by authorised persons in law before any other agreement can be entered,” he said.
Mr Panyako noted that after the recognition agreement, nurses will be seeking to get a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that applies for nurses in all counties.
“The harmonised CBA shall be effective from January 1, 2014 when the discrepancies were created due to the devolution of the health sector,” said Panyako.
The union head also mocked nurses who had stepped in for striking workers in Nakuru, calling them traitors who KNUN will never wish to associate themselves with and who “should prepare to leave through the windows as nurses return through the doors”.
He said the negotiations with government representatives on grievances raised by nurses “have recorded good progress but no agreement has been reached yet.”
“In view of the foregoing, the national governing council (of KNUN) has been invited to Nairobi on Monday December 12, 2016 to come and review the progress made with a view to giving directions on the next course of action,” he said.
At the press conference, KNUN Chairman John Biiy challenged the government to release actual figures of people dying as a result of the medics’ strike, which he said was higher than figures quoted in the Press.