1 December 2012

Kenya: Nyong'o Pleads With Nurses to Rescind Strike Threat

Nairobi — Medical Services Minister Anyang Nyong'o has appealed to nurses not to go on strike as their grievances were being addressed.

In a statement sent to newsrooms Nyong'o pointed out that the intended strike was ill advised and contravenes the Labour Relations Act.

He indicated that there are on-going discussions between union applicants and officers from the two ministries of health.

"It should also be noted that talks are going on between the union and the government. These discussions were called following the appointment of a conciliator by the Ministry of Labour and it is therefore important that the on-going dialogue be given chance," the statement said.

He urged all nurses continue rendering services to Kenyans and give dialogue a chance.

"I therefore urge all nurses in public and private sectors not to heed to the strike call but to continue rendering services to Kenyans as we continue with talks on a resolution," Nyong'o further said.

He assured them that all their concerns will be addressed through the laid down mechanism.

Three nurses unions issued a strike notice which could see over 60,000 nurses not report to work on Monday if the government doesn't meet their demands.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), the National Nurses Association of Kenya and the Kenya Progressive Nurses Association have been holding consultations over the past few weeks regarding the issues they presented to the government, but KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako said that the government has not addressed a single issue in over three months.

The Unions have also called on the government to finalise the Collective Bargaining Agreement as per the salaries and remuneration commission's guidelines.

Nurses at the Kenyatta National Hospital KKNH) have however decided not to join in the strike.

They united with the Kenya Progressive Nurses Association (KPNA) which was part of calling the strike, but has since beaten a retreat.

Kenyatta Hospital nurses' representative Alfred Obuya Obengo agreed with the KPNA saying not all avenues for negotiation had been exhausted and added they had not been consulted before notice for the strike was given.

Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Richard Lesiyampe conceded that the nurses working conditions were less than ideal following a meeting on Thursday morning with the hospital's nurses' representatives but added that a strike was not the way to go.

Lesiyampe assured his nurses that their salaries would be reviewed in the coming financial year given the hospital's parastatal status had been moved up from 3C to a 7A.

He added that more nurses would also be added to the hospital's current 1,400 to bridge the current shortfall.

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