KNH workers suspend strike, to battle grievances out in court

KNH workers suspend strike, to battle grievances out in court
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) workers on strike on September 25, 2020. PHOTO | ERICK OMONDI | CITIZEN DIGITAL

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary-General, Seth Panyako has urged workers from KNH who were on a go-slow to return to work.

Speaking during a press briefing on Wednesday, Panyako said the decision to halt the strike had been informed by court order issued by the Labour court on Tuesday.

“We are a law abiding citizens, and we cannot defy court orders, we shall be the last people to defy court orders, we cannot tell you until then, the court has not stopped the strike, it has just been suspended,” Panyako told the workers.

At the same time, he said the union would handle the matter at court level, promising to give a way forward on the matter after an application filed by KNH is heard and determined.

On Wednesday, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) distanced itself from KNH woes, saying the workers had already benefited from salaries’ increase for the review cycle of 2017/2018 and 2020/2021.

Further, the SRC noted that the pay increase demands had fallen out of the commission’s advice.

SRC promised to conduct a re-evaluation of the jobs at the health provider and issue an advisory upon completion.

On Monday, health workers – including doctors, nurses and members of other unions outside the health profession – went on strike accusing the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) of failing to implement a dispute resolution concerning the re-categorization of their salaries.

In 2012 the state corporation advisory committee evaluated all parastatals in the country including referral hospitals such as KNH which they upgraded from level 3B to 7A, consequently elevating all the 7000 employees to a different salary scale.

In 2019, the hospital’s management board approached Treasury seeking funds to implement the new salary figures for the health workers. Treasury set aside Ksh.2.4 billion and handed over Ksh.601 million to KNH early this year.

In the re-categorization process, salary scales for all job categories were factored in and improved, for instance, those in job group K1 earning slightly over Ksh.191,000 would now earn a minimum of Ksh.318,566

Those in job group K3 earning slightly above Ksh.141,000 would now earn a minimum of Ksh.211,793 while those in job group K13 earning Ksh.23,810 were now entitled to a minimum salary of Ksh.27,509.

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