Kenya: Striking Healthcare Workers in Mombasa Issue Fresh Demands

21 January 2021

Striking Mombasa County health workers have issued new demands before they end their strike.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Kenya Union of Clinical officers Union, Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory officers and Kenya Health Professional Society, representing more than 2,000 health care workers, accused the county government of being irresponsible and ignorant.

In a statement to the media houses, the health workers' unions demanded that Governor Hassan Joho's Administration to pay remittances giving priority to bank loans before they have any meaningful engagement.

They also want the Mombasa County Public Service board to process all promotions, including appeals immediately.

Kenya Union of Clinical officers' Mombasa branch secretary Mr Frankline Maganga called on the council of governors to withdraw all negative rhetoric made to the detriment of the ongoing negotiations at the ministry of labour and immediately avail themselves for meetings to unlock the stalemate.

The unions want the National Treasury to unconditionally release all monies owed by the counties to enable them meet their financial obligations.

The striking workers also want President Uhuru Kenyatta to provide leadership and unlock the standoff that has paralyzed services at most public hospitals for the last 46 days.

Covid-19 risk allowance and group life insurances were also mentioned among the health workers' demands to be provided for as agreed during the national negotiations.

Strike notice

On June 19, 2020, the unions jointly issued a strike notice which expired on July 1 2020, the same day they signed a Memorandum of Agreement to avert the strike.

"Among the issues agreed upon was the issue of promotion which was agreed that they will promote in two phases with phase one handling those on Common establishment, Managerial positions and those retiring in the next five years," Mr Makanga added.

The unions said that their statutory and third party deductions that had not been remitted for over four months as their employer reneged on their promise and resorted into empty promises, along the way.

The unions say they have been on strike for the last 11 weeks despite being open and available for negotiations.

They have accused their employers both at the county level, national government and the Council of Governors of giving their grievances a wide berth and or no attention at all.

Unlock the stalemate

On the January 19, 2021, the union leaders say they held another meeting with a view to unlock the stalemate where the employer agreed to finalise all pending promotions, and on further consideration of the appeals made according to the agreed MOA signed on 1/7/2020 at the Labour Office Mombasa County with immediate effect and letters be released tomorrow (January 22, 2021).

The county agreed to at least pay 2 months' deductions in arrears by January 31, 2021 and commence the process of phase 2 promotions.

However, while going through the return to work formula on Wednesday at the county headquarters, all the progress that had been made was declined and the employer abandoned all the commitments, with no clear timelines as to when all the above stated would be implemented.

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