Nurses: Why we are not joining doctors on strike

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 3 Apr, 2024 13:45 | 2 mins read
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako
Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako. PHOTO/@KNUNOFFICIAL/X

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) says it is not in a rush to join doctors and other healthcare professionals on strike.

In a statement on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako said the union will give priority to diplomacy and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to address its issues with the government.

"With regard to the current disruptions in the health sector in the country pertaining to the posting of interns and the absorption of UHC employees, to permanent and pensionable terms, the Kenya National Union of Nurses has been keen on handling the issues with relevant institutions. It is important to note that, despite the demands from pre-nursing interns, the union has not issued a strike notice yet as we believe in diplomacy and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms," Panyako stated.

Panyako says the union's national leaders have been consulting regional leaders before deciding on the way forward.

"It is evident that the aforementioned issues are pertinent and they need immediate action. Last week, we wrote a letter addressing all our branch officials countrywide, requesting them to advise the head office on the mentioned issues in order to make a collective and sound decision. After a wider consultation from all the branches, the Kenya National Union of Nurses National Executive Council (NEC) met yesterday where it discussed those issues and adopted the resolutions from the branch officials sent to the head office," Panyako stated.

Nurses resolution

In its resolutions, NEC decided that the union will continue with an alternative dispute resolution mechanism "as going on strike is not a suitable option at this moment when the government has already shown goodwill by engaging the union concerning the current pressing issues."

Panyako says there is good progress on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) at both levels of government towards signing the CBA with the union. Both parties are planning to meet next week for a conclusion.

On interns, the union has urged the pre-nurse interns to remain patient as negotiations go on to ensure the stipend payment issue is reviewed to conform with the Schemes of Service.

"We will proceed to take other legal measures if need be in relation to a circular that reduced the intern's pay from the previous job group K to a lower stipend pay. On UHC, the government has approved the employment of UHC into permanent and pensionable terms effective 1st June 2024," Panyako added.

"To make this process more open, effective and efficient, we ask the nurse interns and UHC nurses to appoint two representatives each, to accompany us to MOH for our forthcoming meeting. Through our engagement with the government, the government has agreed to hire more nurses and other health workers."

Panyako has also urged the two levels of government to immediately pay the March 2024 salary and release all pending statutory and third-party deductions.

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