[ALLAFRICA] Kenya: Nurses End Their 5-Month Strike After Deal With State

SOURCE: ALLAFRICA (http://allafrica.com/stories/201711030143.html)

By Faith Nyamai
2 November 2017

Nurses will resume work Friday after signing an agreement with governors and the government, ending a five-month strike that dealt the country’s health system one of its biggest blows in a long time.

In the agreement signed at the offices of the Council of Governors (CoG) in Nairobi, the three parties agreed to have the nurses’ uniform and the risk allowances paid in the next financial year.

The over 20,000 nurses will receive in initial uniform allowance of Sh15,000, which will be increased by Sh5,000 each financial year. This allowance has been increased from the Sh10,000 they have been receiving.

RISK ALLOWANCE

Further, the nurses will also start receiving a risk allowance of between Sh20,000 and Sh25,000, depending on job group, in the next financial year.

Council of Governors chairman Josphat Nanok said the parties have also agreed that the risk allowances will be increased to Sh30,000 in the 2020/2021 financial year.

Nurses first took to the streets on December 5, 2016, the same time as doctors, who ended their work boycott after 100 days.

They then signed a return-to-work formula with governors after being offered a nursing allowance of between Sh15,000 and Sh20,000, to be implemented in two tranches, 60 per cent beginning January and the rest from July.

CBA

Two months later, nurses and the ministry as well as the CoG began negotiations on the CBA, which became the genesis of the just-ended strike.

On June 5, barely six months after calling off a nationwide strike, the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) leaders asked their members to boycott work until such a time when the two levels of government would agree to sign and implement the CBA that will cost taxpayers up to Sh7.8 billion annually..

But Thursday, Knun Secretary-General Seth Panyako said the agreement also resolved to have the CBA concluded, signed and registered with the Industrial Court within 30 days.

“This is the best we could do as a union and I am asking nurses to resume work latest 5pm today,” said Mr Panyako.

“Over 85 per cent of Kenyans living below the poverty line cannot afford the expensive private healthcare, and therefore we call off the strike.”

STRIKE

All disciplinary cases initiated against nurses during the strike will be withdrawn and withheld salaries remitted by the end of this month, and not later than December 31.