Nurses refuse to end strike despite getting June pay, march to offices of CoG

Striking nurses have received their full June salaries, although they worked for only four days last month.

But that good-will gesture won’t persuade them to return to work. Only signing the CBA will end the strike that began on June 5, they say.

Yesterday, nurses marched from town to the Council of Governors offices at Delta House in Nairobi to press for the signing of the CBA agreed in May.

Only five counties have not paid nurses, but the union said those counties have promised to pay this week.

“The nurses will not change their positions and their resolve not to work without the CBA. We are telling the governors — Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, Kisii’s James Ongwae, Kisumu’s Jack Ranguma and others — go campaign, get elected or not. We shall remain right here,” Opetu said.

The CoG said nurses were paid for work not done as a show of good faith so they could resume work as the CBA negotiations continue.

The strike started while the SRC was evaluating the draft CBA developed by the nurses’ union and governors.

“Most people have received their June salaries and the remaining counties have promised to pay,” Kenya National Union of Nurses deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu said.

Opetu said demonstrations now will be held from the CoG offices, until the governors agree to sign the CBA.

He said nurses and governors had agreed to sign the CBA on July 11, but they could not find the governors’ representatives and they have not been told why county chiefs did not turn up.

Last week, council CEO Jacqueline Mogeni wrote to the KNUN, asking them to return to negotiations so the CBA discussions are finalised.

Mogeni noted the SRC had declined to approve the draft CBA, which means the two sides need to come together to make some adjustments.

“We also responded noting we are ready for talks. But we will only talk on how the CBA can be signed,” Opetu told the Star.

CoG has already termed the nurses’ strike illegal, saying the procedure, which entails giving a legal notice from the union, was not followed.

Some health facilities have also brought in interns to assist patients, but the union says this is illegal.

“It is illegal and wrong for medical interns to work without guidance or supervision by a qualified nurse,” Opetu said.

The contentious CBA gives nurses allowances of Sh15,400 (risk), Sh5,000 (extraneous), Sh5,000 (responsibility) and Sh50,000 (uniform) per year.

The SRC said implementing the Sh40 billion agreement is unrealistic as figures quoted were exaggerated.

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