14 February 2019

Kenya: Resume Work or Face Contempt Charges, Sicily Kariuki Tells Nurses

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/Nairobi News
Nurses under the Health ministry during a protest at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on February 11, 2019, when they announced that they had joined the nationwide strike.

Striking nurses face contempt of court charges if they do not resume work by Friday 8am, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has said.

The Health CS said the national government and Council of Governors have agreed to file the charges because strike by the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) members is illegal.

Speaking in Meru County where she launched the National Breaking Transmission Strategy 2019-2023 to address neglected tropical and surgical diseases, Ms Kariuki said the nurses have ignored a court order that gave parties 60 days for conciliation.

"The courts have spoken and the nurses have gone against the order. Union officials have already been served with the court orders. This is not a threat but all nurses are expected at work tomorrow [Friday] as the President and the governors directed," Ms Kariuki said.

Imenti Central MP Kirima Nguchine also called on the government to sack nurses who fail to report to work.

On Wednesday, nurses vowed to defy the directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying their strike is unconstitutional.

KNUN Secretary-General Seth Panyako said the strike is still on and nurses in 10 other counties are set to join the picketing next week.

"This is not a national strike, but we are dealing with individual counties. I am still waiting for directions from branch officials, but as it stands, the strike is on until we are paid what is rightfully ours," he said.

Nurses are demanding nursing service and uniform allowances.


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