NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 15 – The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has accused Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani of misleading President Uhuru Kenyatta on the status of the nurses’ strike.
Nurses remain on strike despite an order by President Kenyatta that they resume work on Friday morning or lose their jobs.
Atwoli said that that strike was a labour matter and termed President Kenyatta’s ultimatum ‘unnecessary’.
“Somebody jumped the gun by rushing his Excellency the President in this matter prematurely. This is an issue that would have been deliberated by the people who are meant to do so. Some earning salaries, others who would have volunteered themselves outside the government Civil Service to make sure nurses go back on duty,” Atwoli said Friday.
Atwoli said Yattani should have explored the various means available to resolve the nurses strike crisis which has paralysed operations in various public hospitals.
President Kenyatta issued an ultimatum on Wednesday from State House, Nairobi, saying nurses from the county or national governments who will not resume work on Friday morning will be dismissed.
Atwoli has defended nurses, saying “they are trained, and professional people and the issue of ultimatums and dismissals will give us a bad name.”
He said for a permanent solution, Yattani should explore the various ways available to resolve the nurses strike which has paralysed operations in various hospitals.
“If I was a head of state today, the CS of labour would have packed his things and gone home. He is not competent to stand up on any national television and tell us what he thinks about Kenya and other labor related issues if he cannot resolve such a small issue,” he observed.
On Friday, Yattani said that conciliatory committee meetings between the nurses’ union and county governments were underway.
He said out that the committee was set to meet with the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) and later on with the Ministry of Health.
“The matter that will come before court on Monday is on contempt but the order that was given by the court on February 5th ordering the officials of the KNUN to cease hostilities and go back to work has been ignored,” he stated and appealed to all the nurses to obey the rule of law and stated that the various county governments were at liberty to enforce the court decision that they go back to work.
The strike which entered its second week on Monday was suspended by the court on February 5 to give room for conciliation talks spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.
KNUN General Seth Panyako however, dismissed Yatani’s appeal saying the strike would continue as planned.
The 2017 CBA provided for a fifty per cent increase in service allowance earned by nurses from the current Sh 20,000 to Sh 30,000.
The CBA also provided for a Sh 15,000 uniform allowance.