Nurses’ call off nationwide strike


NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 December 2016 – The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) has called off their strike after signing Recognition Agreement with National Government and County Governments.

The Recognition Agreement which was signed by the County Secretaries, Chairperson of County Public Service Boards and Governors gives the union power to negotiate with county governments for better terms of service.

Prior to this event, KNUN Chairman John Biiy and Deputy Secretary General Maurice Opetu had signed a duty resumption agreement on Sunday 11th December 2016 with the Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr. Cleopa Mailu and the Council of Governors Representative Hon. James Ongwae.

The agreement offered all the cadres of nurses quantum increase nursing services allowance of  KES 20,000 for  those in job Group G-L and KES 15,000 for those in Job Group M and above effective 1st  January 2017.

During the signing of the Recognition agreement on Wednesday KNUN Secretary General, Seth Panyako announced that the strike is officially suspended and nurses should report to their work stations with immediate effect since all the unsettled issues in the Recognition Agreement have been addressed.

“In the next few minutes all nurses will start streaming back to work because we have resolved the outstanding matters in the Recognition Agreement,” he argued.

Nurses downed their tools alongside doctors on 5th December 2016 citing poor remuneration, lack of promotion and recognition by the County Government as well as the need for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Government before March 2017.

Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Cleopa Mailu revealed that the CBA which covers a period of four years will address the nurses’ concerns and enable Kenyans to receive quality healthcare uninterrupted.

Dr. Mailu commended the nurses’ union and the County Governments through the Council of Governors for their commitment during the negotiating period that culminated to the end of the strike.

“I am glad that we have reached an agreement and cemented it. We need industrial harmony within the health sector and with the spirit of empathy. Nurses are patients’ advocates because they take care of the patient after the doctor leaves. It is hurtful when nurses are on strike and I want to assure them that their plight is being looked at,” said Dr. Mailu.

The CS urged the striking doctors to come back to the negotiating table. Dr. Mailu argued that it will be difficult to resolve the matter without dialogue and if doctors continue to snub the negotiations. “I ask them to cushion their excesses with humility and come back to the table instead of escalating the strike. Health is important but we should equally exercise constraint.”

More than 10 Governors attended the ceremony while others were represented by County Secretaries and Chairpersons of the County Public Services Boards. The Council of Governors Chairman, Peter Munya echoed the CS remarks adding that the doctors should negotiate with the government and call off the strike.

“Doctors walked out on us and never came back. We are asking them to come back even as we look into their grievances in the spirit of collective humanity. We had not exhausted all avenues,” he said.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae who is the Chairperson of the Human Resource, Labour and Social Security Committee at the Council of Governors lauded the nurses’ union for the role they have played which he argued will strengthen the working relationship between nurses and County Governments.

Other Governors present were Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Cyprian Awiti (Homabay), Mwangiwa Iria (Murang’a), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Cleophas Lagat (Nandi), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Daniel Waithaka (Nyandarua) and Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia).