Kenya: Atwoli Opposes Move to Hire Nurses on Contract

Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli addressing workers during Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park (file photo).

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli has castigated the recent move by the national and county governments to hire nurses on contract basis.

During a press conference held at a Naivasha hotel Tuesday, Mr Atwoli said the move is likely to discourage nurses from seeking jobs with the national and county governments.

During a summit held on Monday, it was resolved that nursing vacancies resulting from natural attrition will henceforth be filled on contract basis.

"Which government in the world talks about casualization of labour?" posed Mr Atwoli.

PROFESSIONALS

He said universities in the country are producing able workforce, questioning the rationale of hiring such professionals on contract.

The Cotu secretary-general called on the two levels of government to rethink the position if they are serious in addressing the shortcomings in the health sector.

In a joint statement on Monday, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) announced eight resolutions aimed at improving services.

Key among them, according to the statement, was "that any vacancies for recruitment of nurses arising from normal attrition in both levels of government be filled on contract terms".

"The national and county governments are not likely to attract employees into their institutions if they take that route," said Mr Atwoli.

ALL-OUT BATTLE

Adding his voice to the nurses' issue, Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako warned the two levels of government to brace themselves for an all-out battle with the health workers.

"We are ready to stage powerful resistance that the national and county governments have never seen. We will resist using all avenues possible," he warned.

Mr Panyako fell short of announcing that they would hold a major strike, announcing that they will first convene a meeting for all union members within the health sector and take a serious position on what the Council of Governors had stated.

"When you want to hire health workers as casuals, we will not accept it because it means the counties are unable to run the sector," added Mr Panyako

He accused the two levels of government of making decisions without consultations, terming the latest move as ploy to deny nurses their retirement benefits.

"We shall oppose it because it goes against the principles on non- discrimination," he added.

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