Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Sarah Serem appeared to rule out any increase in pay for nurses, unless their employers say they have the Sh40 billion needed to do so.
Ms Serem said nurses, who have been on strike for nearly a month now, were included in the job evaluation on whose basis the SRC reviewed salaries for all classes of civil servants earlier in the year.
She said a team in the Council of Governors appointed to come up with a CBA did its job, ignoring the instruction that they link up with the employers.
“If you all remember, the Council of Governors denounced the CBA because they did not have funding. SRC wrote to the Council of Governors seeking their input in terms of ability to pay.
We are yet to receive that feedback, so, as we are sitting now, we are waiting for the council to confirm that they have Sh40 billion plus or any other amount so that they can pay any additional costs,” she said during a press conference at the SRC’s headquarters at Williamson House, Nairobi.
She added: “SRC is not an employer. I think that needs to be clear. SRC does not generate revenue, so we do not receive and open our wardrobes or the cabinets to check whether we have funding or not. We will give on the basis they have provided and if they have not, then we cannot give our go-ahead,”
Moments after she spoke, the nurses arrived at Williamson House, singing and chanting slogans against the commission.
Kenya National Union of Nurses officials and their members across the counties had gathered at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Monday morning, protesting over their unmet pay demands.
Ms Serem used the doctors’ strike as an example, saying in the course of that strike, it became necessary for the employing agencies to reach a deal and the SRC had given its advice on the collective bargaining agreement.
“We provided that information because we knew the impact of any additional pay to any public sector employee outside the framework of the SRC’s advice. And that was supposed to have been factored in the collective bargaining agreement,” she said.
But the nurses have maintained they want nothing less than the CBA.
They particularly accused governors of fuelling the ongoing nationwide strike by inflating figures agreed on in their CBA.
The union’s acting secretary-general Maurice Opetu said about Sh7.5 billion will be required to implement the CBA and not Sh40.3 billion as shared by the council.
As a result, Mr Opetu yesterday said this has led to a stalemate pitting the 26,000 nurses against the SRC and the Treasury, who have since refused to assent to the nurses’ demands on the grounds that they are unsustainable.
Now, the nurses are appealing to President Uhuru Kenyatta to “step in and push the SRC to give them the green light” at a time when most of the services at public hospitals are grounded.