Nurses Sign A Deal to Go Back to Work
The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has finally called off their nationwide strike that began on the 5th of December. This is after they signed a negotiated agreement with the National government and the County governments in a bid to recognize their Collective Bargaining Agreements on Wednesday 14th December. The decision will see nurses in Job Group M and above earn KSH 15,000 in allowances while those in Job Group G to L will receive KSH 20,000 monthly.
The agreement was signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu. Also present during the signing was Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma (Health chair, Council of Governors), Kisii Governor James Ongwae (Human resources point person, Council of Governors), Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako and Chairperson John Biiy. Panyako stated that they had reached an agreement adding that the harmonized CBA will be negotiated beginning the 1st of January 2017.
Earlier on Wednesday Panyako had led union officials to walk out of talks between government and the union, where he had said that the governors was taking them for granted. The parties however came to an agreement after the intervention of health CS Cleopa Mailu.
The Council of Governor chairman Peter Munya stated that that they had made two decisions. One that the county governments will sign the Recognition Agreement and that the union of nurses will call off the strike. Health CS Cleopa Mailu has further on urged the doctors to soften their stand so as to resolve the matter amicably.
The agreement now binds the counties to engage with the union on all issues concerning the nurses. Panyako also stated that in future when they hold a strike the new born unit, maternity and the intensive care unit will be functional and the only thing they will not be doing is admitting patients.
The council of governor is also set to withdraw a case they lodged against the striking union.
The agreement is anticipated to increase the quality of health care in the country even though Kenya is not at par with WHO recommendations that indicates 23 nurses per 10,000 patients currently the country is at 9 nurses per 10,000 patients.
The public can now sign in relief as the Kenyan public will be able to access public hospitals for treatment which are affordable as compared to the private ones. However the increment on the nurses allowances is expected to cost the Kenyan tax payer approximately KSH 1.5 billion every month. The money is expected to be paid in two installments, the first 60% in January and the second installment of 40% in July 2017.