Nurses, clinical officers to continue with strike after CS Chelugui meeting flops


Nurses, clinical officers to continue with strike after CS Chelugui meeting flops
KUCO National Chairman Peterson Wachira during a past press address. PHOTO / COURTESY

A meeting called by Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui that brought striking clinical officers, nurses union officials and the Ministry of Health at a round table ended with no solution in sight.

The unionists continued to blame the Council of Governors (CoG), which pulled a no-show in the Monday meeting, of impeding efforts to have striking workers back at work.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is now also adamant that it is the only body mandated to adjust pay for the health workers, which may only serve to aggravate the situation.

An uninspiring walkout from the Ministry of Labour board rooms is what characterised the demeanor of the union officials who had gone to iron out issues in their return to work formulas, with their address clearly indicating there is no end in sight for the ongoing strike.

“It’s very unfortunate that while we are told to play by the rules as the unions, the government entities treat the law as if it is an inconvenience to them,” said Peterson Wachira, National Chairman of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO).

“We, as healthcare workers, our business is about health; health for the healthcare workers and health for the patient. If this cannot be guaranteed, I do not think there is anything that needs to be negotiated,” reiterated KUCO Secretary General George Gibore.

The unionists expressed dissatisfaction with the failure by the CoG to send representatives to the meeting. Also conspicuously absent was the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) representatives.

“Kenyans of goodwill must come out and call out government entities that are hindering them from enjoying health services,” stated Mr. Wachira.

The CoG however maintains that health workers on strike will have to negotiate a return to work formula at county level with their individual governors as opposed to a blanket agreement.

In a series of correspondence seen by Citizen Digital, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) responded to a letter from the CoG with an array of pointers.

The commission said, “Any allowance can only be paid with SRC approval…the allowances captured in CBA can only be reviewed after the CBA’s lapse…COVID-19 allowance was paid as per the fiscal space of that time…allowances for doctors who are lecturers and those who work in universities are covered by other unions and emergency call allowances and health risk allowances for health workers were already reviewed in 2017.”

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Story By Hassan Mugambi
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