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President Uhuru pleads with governors to end nurses strike

President Uhuru addresses members of public after he launched cancer treatment center at Kenyatta National Hospital

The national and county governments will consult in an attempt to end the nurses’ strike that has gone on for 82 days, the President said on Thursday.

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Uhuru Kenyatta, who spoke to nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital while commissioning a Sh300 million cancer therapy machine, said he had been quiet ‘for far too long’.

“We will sit with the governors and agree on something that will have the best interests of Kenyans at heart. Once they are settled then we will hasten the process (of resolving the impasse),” he said.

The health sector has been on auto pilot for the past three months as 25,000 nurses across the country downed their tools, demanding better pay and allowances. They are demanding that the minimum pay be increased to Sh23,329 from Sh16,692 a month and a nursing allowance of between Sh15,000 and Sh20,000.

The President said: “Our work is to ensure that we work for you as taxpayers and when we have problems we have to dialogue so that those who pay us do not suffer.”

Towards the end of last year nurses went on strike to agitate for better working conditions. They later suspended the strike to pave the way for talks. They were soon followed by doctors, who went on strike for a 100 days to push for salary and allowance hikes. Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako said nurses would stay away from their work stations until their employers stop ignoring them.

“The collective bargaining agreement (is negotiated) by the county public service board, whose two-year terms have not expired,” he said.

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