Photo: Dennis Onsongo/Nairobi News
Nurses under the Health ministry during a protest at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on February 11, 2019, when they announced that will they had joined the nationwide strike.
By Angela Oketch
Nurses have vowed to defy orders by President Uhuru Kenyatta instructing them to report back to work by Friday, saying that will the strike is usually constitutional in addition to properly protected.
Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) secretary-general Seth Panyako, addressing the media immediately after President Kenyatta’s speech, said the strike was still on in addition to that will nothing had changed.
According to Mr Panyako, he did not call for the boycott, however Knun branch officials inside the counties did in addition to are the ones who can call off the strike.
“If today they advise me to call off the strike following the directive coming from our President, I will do that will very diligently. This particular is usually not a national strike, however we are dealing with individual counties.
“I am still waiting for direction coming from branch officials, however as that will stands, the strike is usually on until we are paid what is usually rightfully ours,” he said.
In a press statement by the President on the nurses’ strike, he ordered that will the health workers resume duty with immediate effect in addition to not later than Friday 8am, failing which they might be dismissed by the county governments in addition to the Ministry of Health.
Responding to This particular, the Knun official said the sacking directive should come coming from the Public Service Board to the union since they are the employers, in addition to that will orders coming from any some other corner are a political statement geared towards sabotaging health.
“We respect the President of This particular nation in addition to the government. We respect the law however the law must be applied rationally in addition to equitably,” he said.
“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, I have instructed the National Police Service to take stern action against those picketers who may intimidate or otherwise harass public servants who intend to go to work,” the statement reads.
He said the nurses are law-abiding citizens in addition to they might not engage any Kenyan in any hooliganism.
“We are not planning to go against the law in addition to the police should not use force on our people,” he said.
The President instructed that will should the nurses fail to report to work on that will Friday, then the respective county governments might be at liberty to undertake any action they deem appropriate against the personnel.
“Fellow Kenyans, This particular morning I held a meeting with the leadership of the Ministry of Health in addition to the Council of Governors to discuss the important issue of the provision of health services in our country. As the National in addition to County Governments, we have a cardinal responsibility to provide adequate in addition to accessible health care to all Kenyans.
“that will is usually greatly disheartening to learn that will some of our nurses have decided to engage in an unlawful withdrawal of their labour against the determination of the Employment in addition to Labour Relations Court, which suspended any industrial action for 60 days pending conciliation meetings between county governments, Ministry of Health in addition to the nurses’ union.
“Moreover, that will is usually disheartening to hear officials of the nurses’ union declare that will they will not obey these court orders,” the statement reads.
He continued: “In conclusion, fellow Kenyans, we have a clear development agenda. in addition to as an investment destination in addition to a Government that will seeks to provide services to her people, we cannot allow unlawful industrial actions to derail us coming from our focus of taking Kenya forward.”
The union accused the Labour Ministry of frustrating the implementation of the agreement reached by nurses in addition to county governments.
Mr Panyako said devolved units “are playing with the nurses minds by failing to honour the agreement the parties in dispute signed on November 2, 2017”.
The nurses are demanding uniform in addition to nursing service allowances.
Nurses earn Sh20,000 every month in service allowance, which was to be increased to Sh30,000 over three years coming from 2017. The uniform allowance was raised to Sh10,000.
So far, 13 counties are on strike in addition to 10 more are planning to join in on Monday. They are: Murang’a, Tana River, Nakuru, Siaya, Kakamega, Narok, Makueni, Bomet in addition to Busia.
On Tuesday in addition to Wednesday next week, Uasin Gishu in addition to Isiolo will respectively join the rest in downing their tools.
“We want to urge our members to remain firm in addition to fight for their rights because the Constitution of Kenya under Article 41 provides that will every worker includes a right to go on strike in addition to that will the strike is usually properly protected,” Mr Panyako
“If there is usually anything otherwise, we shall advise our members properly; however as far as I am concerned the strike was initiated by our members who are inside the counties; that will is usually them who give This particular union direction; if they say today that will we call off the strike we will,” he said.
He said the labour relation matters are handled in accordance with law. that will if any employer thinks employees are not fulfilling their duties then they should take the right cause of action.
“I cannot respond to the President. I have no mandate to respond. If I do that will I will be overstepping my mandate. I am not a politician. I am a leader of workers in addition to I deal with employers,” he said.
He said if politicians start challenging them as union leaders to make a political statement at the expense of nurses, then they might be deviating coming from their core mandate.
Mr Panyako said when they wrote a letter to the Salaries in addition to Remuneration Commission calling for a meeting to discuss the strike, the commission instructed them to raise the issues with their employers.