Murang’a nurses denied access to their workplaces
Nurses employed by Murang’a government who resumed work from their 5-month long strike on Friday were denied access to their work place.
At Murang’a county level-4 hospital the health workers were stranded at the facility gate after they were blocked by security guards.
The nurses were served with a memo from the county health secretary Mr. Joseph Mbai informing them they were sacked following their engagement in the strike which lasted for five months.
In the memo, the county government stated that it had employed other nurses to replace to those who downed their tools.
On Thursday Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Council of Governors signed an agreement ending the strike which had paralyzed service delivery in public health facilities.
In the agreement signed by governors and officials of KNUN it was agreed that nurses will get uniform and risk allowance to be implemented from next financial year while all cases related to the industrial action will be withdrawn by the respective parties that are the petitioners.
Nurses drawn from all public hospitals and health centres in Murang’a County have adhered to the agreement and woke up early on Friday to resume their duties only to find the a shocking memo waiting.
KNUN Murang’a branch chairperson Mr. Kenneth Kihato expressed his anger on the decision made by the county government saying nurses from the county should not be victimized.
He said if the county government is not willing to accept them back, then it should transfer their services back to national government.
The chairperson castigated the county health officials for opting to fire them without following due process urging the nurses to stay put promising to continue demanding for their rights.
“It’s very disheartening to come to work only to be denied access to our place and to be issued with a sacking memo; we will not tolerate such actions as we can seek legal redress on the matter,” vowed Kihato.
When contacted by KNA, Mr. Mbai said the county government had cautioned the nurses from engaging in the strike.
He said there are nurses who continued to work but those who participated in the strike were replaced as the government could not watch people suffer without attention.
“We don’t have any problems with those who adhered to our warning, for those who did not, we advertised for the vacancies and hired a set of new nurses so as to restore the services in all the public hospitals,” added Mbai.
The decision to fire the defiant nurses, Mbai noted was reached by the county executive and nothing will change as the new nurses are already working.
He further divulged that there is case before Labour court in Nyeri that the nurses who participated in strike filed objecting a decision to hire the new nurses that had not been withdrawn.
In the month of September, the county government hired 35 nurses for the Murang’a level-4 hospital increasing the number of nurses to 70.
Health workers in Murang’a since beginning of this year have been in poor work relationship with the county government after the workers accuse their employer for not remitting statutory deductions among other challenges.
By Bernard Munyao