10 January 2013

Kenya: University Health Workers Protest Over Delayed Allowances

More than 800 health workers at Kenyatta University yesterday went on strike to protest against the delayed payment of their allowances.

Led by University Non-Teaching Staff Union officials, the workers marched to vice chancellor Olive Mugenda's office where they demanded to be addresed.

Mugenda was however not in, forcing the workers to give their petition to Paul Wainaina, the university's deputy vice chancellor in charge of administration. The workers accused the university of withholding the allowances which date back to December 2011.

They said the government released Sh850 million to cater for health workers, including those working in public universities, last November.

David Maina, the chairman of Untesu, KU chapter, accused the university's administration of isolating non teaching staff by paying the allowances to members of the teaching staff.

He said the univesity's medical unit, which also serves as the Kasarani District Hospital, is a classified public health institution whose staff deserve the allowances.

Maina said the health workers are overworked because the hospital covers a wide area and accident victims from the Thika Superhighway.

He was flanked by the the university's Untesu officials - secretary Fred Mundimbwa, vice chairman Charles Orang'o and treasurer Evelyn Simiyu.

Receiving the petition, Wainaina acknowledged the workers' grievances and promised to take the matter up with the Medical Services ministry.

Wainana said the university appreciates the services of the workers and asked them to handle the matter in a diplomatic way. He said the university will study the petition and come up with a solution.

He however did not give a commitment on when the allowances will be paid. The workers demanded that action be taken within seven days.

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