Kenya: Kisumu Nurses Threaten to Down Tools Over Unpaid Salaries

Nurses in Kisumu County have once again threatened to go on strike over the unresolved dispute of delayed salaries.

Unions representing the nurses have complained that the county government has failed to implement the promotion of healthcare workers as ordered by the Labour court in January.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) officials have asked the county to address their grievances to avert the strike.

The nurses have threatened to down their tools starting June 12 if their concerns are not addressed by Tuesday next week.

They are also complaining about their Covid-19 allowances which they say are yet to be disbursed.

Mr Maurice Opetu, KNUN secretary in Kisumu said the nurses want local government to harmonise the risk allowances with that paid to doctors. He said doctors are paid Sh20,000 while nurses only get Sh3,000.

"The nurses, clinical and lab officers who are always on duty and are at risk of contracting the virus," he said.

"All workers are advised to stay at home from their work station and keep safe when the notice we have issued expires on June 9," said Mr Opetu.

The workers from KNUN and their counterparts from the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO), Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) and Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) signed a return-to-work agreement with the county in September last year.

In a letter dated January 13, 2020 the unions through their secretaries Mr Opetu (KNUN), Mr Hilary Awiti (KNUMLO), and Craus Okumu (UKCS) asked the county government to effect promotions and pay their arrears.

The unions and the county government had agreed that promotions for all health workers shall be concluded by December 31, 2019.

They also agreed that all the staff promotions shall be implemented and payments paid in arrears effective July 1, 2019.

"You recall that the concerned unions have made several attempts by way of correspondences and other engagement such as meetings with the executive to ensure the full implementation of the agreement. However, nothing has happened."

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