11 September 2017

Kenya: Nurses Snap at COG - We've Been Sacked 10 Times Before

Photo: Diana Ngila/Daily Nation
Striking nurses protest outside Afya House in Nairobi.

Nairobi — The Kenya National Union of Nurses striking members resorted to witty placards, dance, songs, selfie sticks and wearing theatre caps and masks to communicate their message on Monday.

While protesting the alleged advertisement by the Council of Governors (COG) for new nurses to be hired, the care givers spoke through their placards that were loud and clear with messages targeting individuals and organisations.

"We are 26,000 nurses asking for 7.3 billion per year only," read one placard.

"A nurses' worth can never be sacked," affirmed another.

"A sacked NURSE is still a nurse but a sacked Governor is a RAIA ask Munya," read another.

After blowing whistles, praying and singing, the group was joined by the Deputy Secretary General of their union, Opeto Maurice.

While addressing the members who were assembled in front of Afya House in Upper Hill, the striking nurses vowed to continue with their strike which started in June until their needs are met.

"We are very ready to even go for one year," vowed the Deputy SG.

"Don't be tempted to go back to work for the fear of being sacked," he added.

Opeto decried the slow pace with which the CBA has been handled noting that they have been patient for too long.

"We have given them almost seven months but they have not signed," he added.

The nurses who were visibly angered by a recruitment advertisement in the papers for new nurses simplified their demands into three issues.

"We want risk allowances of Sh15,400 per month, extraneous allowances of Sh5,000 per month and uniform allowance to be increased to Sh50,000 per year from the current Sh10,000 per year. The amount includes all the accessories and their maintenance," Opeto clarified.

The union leader also dismissed alleged show-cause letters which have been distributed to some of the union members and urged them to stay put and ignore the threats.

"The love letter that has been generated... I hear it's generic. It is so generic that it cannot stand the test of time and law."

"We negotiated with the county public service board who are the employers. And remember, we are only seconded to them. We are employees of the public service commission," he added.

Taking a swipe at the Council of Governors who have issued the union members with threats of dismissal, they walked their members down the memory lane of the many tribulations they have gone through.

"We have been sacked 10 times. Hon Anyang' Nyong'o sacked us six times in a day. President Moi sacked us three times. The late Ole Ntimama sacked us three times. Hon Ngilu sacked us almost six times," he announced.

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