It is almost 50 days since nurses in public hospitals across the country went on strike over a pay dispute.
That such a crucial cadre of staff in the health sector should continue staying away from work for so long is not only dangerous to patients but is also a big shame.
It is even more disturbing that a recent meeting between the Council of Governors and the Kenya National Union of Nurses failed to take off with both sides trading accusations on who was responsible for the aborted negotiations.
This does not inspire confidence.
Considering the central place of the health sector, it is important that disputes involving workers and their employers should be handled with seriousness and sensitivity.
In recent years this has not been the case, including during the 100-day doctors’ strike that ended in March.
We call on the governors and the leadership of the nurses’ union to go back to the negotiating table in good faith with focus firmly on finding a reasonable solution to the dispute.
So far, the two main parties seem to disagree on issues apparently as basic as how much it will cost to implement the collective bargaining agreement.
Other stakeholders, including the Health and Labour ministries and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, must also play a proactive role in reaching an amicable end to the strike.
It is not in anybody’s interest — not least the patients who are not receiving the full medical attention in public hospitals — for this industrial action to drag on.