Nurses’ union says CoG and Health CS frustrating signing of CBA

By Clifford Akumu

Kenyan Nurses have revealed Friday that the Council of Governors and Health Cabinet Secretary are to blame for the ongoing nurses’ strike that has now entered its 135th day, one of the longest industrial action the country has ever witnessed.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako said that the CoG led by Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok is frustrating the course to arrive at their Collective Bargaining Agreement, which he added, is the only way to arrive at a lasting solution for the striking nurses.

Panyako said that the nation has failed adding that all the political leaders had not addressed their plight.

“We are very much perturbed by our political leaders. It appears the forest is the same but the monkeys are different,” he said in reference to how the political leaders had turned a deaf ear to nurses’ plight.

According to Panyako, nurses had ceded a lot of ground in trying to end the four-month strike and did not see why the Cabinet Secretary would scuttle the process.

He added that only four counties had nurses working, adding it was misleading for the CS to report that 60 per cent of the nurses were back to work.

“We should be sitting to see how to end the ongoing strike and not to audit the impact of the strike in the counties” Panyako said in reference to one of the Agendas of the meeting called between the CoG and the ministry.

At the same time, Health CS Dr Cleopa Mailu said meetings with nurses were not yielding fruits “because the union leadership is not sincere”.

“It is unfortunate that the strike has unnecessarily dragged for this long. We cannot continue to subject Kenyans to agony,” Dr Mailu said while signing a return-to-work agreement with clinical officers.

But Panyako said that these meetings are always not in good faith and urged the CS to tell Kenyans the truth.

Nurses have been adamant that they will not resume duty until the two levels of government implement their salary deal.