Nurses vow to stay put even if CBA is signed
The Nurses in Busia County have vowed to continue with the strike irrespective of whether the government signs the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or not.
Speaking to the press after staging a peaceful demonstration at the governor’s office on Monday, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Busia Branch Chairman, Isaiah Omondi said the Health Sector in the County was on its death bed because of many other factors besides money.
Omondi pointed out that the number of retirees were more than the current employees making the workload unbearable.
“We asked the County government to employ 100 more nurses to replace those who have retired and those who have died but nothing has been done,” he said adding that they would be forced to close down some wards.
“Offering poor services is not our wish and the locals should not feel that we like it,” he said.
The official at the same time, pointed out that promotion of health service providers was done half way.
“We will continue with the strike until the County government tells us what it can do and what it cannot do,” he said
Omondi urged governors to stop issuing ultimatum to nurses explaining that they were protected by the Constitution and Labour laws.
KNUN Busia Branch Secretary General, Juliet Adagala said the strike was not politically instigated, adding that union members were from all tribes in the country.
Adagala urged Busia Governor, Sospeter Ojaamong to work closely with other governors to ensure that the CBA was signed.
She added that nurses at the County Teaching and Referral Hospital were overworked with only six nurses serving 600 patients per day.
“Within the maternity ward, we handle 300 deliveries per month against five nurses,” she explained.
But Busia CEC for Health and Sanitation, Maurice Siminyu urged the nurses to obey the request by the Chairman of Council of Governors, Josephat Nanok to go back to work and offer services to members of the public.
“Busia has tried to meet the needs of the nurses by paying salaries promptly before 28th of every month,” he said, adding that promotion was a continuous process that relied on the recommendations from the health department.
Siminyu added that demands by the Union for employment of 100 more nurses was not practicable since 60% of Shs.1.7 billion allocated during this financial year has gone to payment of nurses’ salaries.
The nurses’ strike has entered its third week with the Chairman of the Council of Governors, requesting individual counties to talk to nurses to resume work as talks among Union official, CoG and Salaries and Remuneration Commission continue.
By Salome Alwanda