The Ministry of Health and the Council of Governors (CoG) have maintained that they do not have money to pay nurses even after a month-long conciliation talk.
The nurses’ strike has proved to be a wild goose chase after their employers insisted that there will be no pay increment.
During the strike, the Council of Governors went to court after realizing that the strike was paralyzing health services across the country. The Labour and Employment Court suspended the job action for 60 days and gave a directive to the involved parties to hold dialogue as proposed by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani and file a report within 30 days.
A committee was formed involving the nurses’ union, the CoG, representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Labour ministry and Public Service Board to look into the issues.
However, even after the return-to-work formula was signed, nothing much has come out of the talk. The conciliation dialogue ended last week and a report is to be filed in court on the 16th of April.
“The Ministry of Health, governors and nurses’ union leaders did not agree. There was a lot of dishonesty. I know there is a lot of expectation from nurses that maybe they would be getting a salary increase. Unfortunately, I have to inform them that we disagreed,” said the Kenya National Union of Nurses’ national treasurer Ms. Agnes Munderu.
Nurses across the 47 counties were demanding for an increment in service of 10,000 shillings and be given uniform allowances of 15,000 shillings.
Although some counties had already moved to add the increments to the nurses’ pay slips, the CoG gave them a directive to regain the funds following claims that the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had not approved the remittance.
“The Ministry of Health and the Council of Governors have indicated that they have no budgetary provision and funds to cater for payment of the allowances. Besides being unaffordable and unsustainable, the allowances if paid, will occasion a ripple effect in the Health sector,” read a statement from SRC.
Consequently, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has since been given an order directing Kisii and Kajiado counties to carry on deducting and remitting union dues.
According to the directive, which was issued to the chair of CoG, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kisii and Kajiado counties should pay KNUN 468,600 and 199,800 shillings, respectively, of union dues that weren’t deducted in February and or any other subsequent month.
The two counties are the only ones that failed to deduct the dues. Nevertheless, it was also noted that other counties also subtracted less than the gazetted 650 shillings.
“We don’t understand what counties want. Kisii and Kajiado did not deduct anything while others, including Kiambu, deducted 1.50 shillings only from each member. Other counties deducted 300 shillings, contrary to our standard amount, which is 650 shillings,” Ms. Munderu exclaimed.
“We are simply asking the counties to implement the order failure to which they will pay the union dues from their own kitty,” she concluded.