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Kenyan nurses end five-month clinic and hospital strike

By Njoroge Kaburo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan nurses on Thursday called off their five-month-long strike after reaching an agreement with the country’s Council of Governors (CoG).

Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary-General Seth Panyako said the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will be implemented fully within 30 days and urged the nurses to resume work on Friday.

“I hereby declare that the strike that began on June 5 is officially called off and our members are advised to go back to work with immediate effect, by Friday at 5 p.m.,” Panyako told journalists in Nairobi.

He said the health workers will have their nursing, uniform and nursing service allowances increased. The two sides also agreed that all cases related to the dispute currently before court will be withdrawn.

The nurses have boycotted work in the East African country since June citing a breach of a CBA they signed with the government.

The strike paralyzed the health sector in the country with patients forced to seek expensive services in the private hospitals.

CoG Chairman Josphat Nanok said the agreement followed a lengthy consultative meeting within all stakeholders, noting the industrial action was prolonged after it became the subject of “so many months of back and forth”.

“We have reached a consensus that the nurses will get a uniform allowance of 15,000 shillings (150 U.S. dollars) between 2018 and 2019 and that will be increased by 5,000 shillings over three years,” Nanok said.

He added that the health workers will be entitled to Nursing Services Allowances of 230 dollars which will be increased by 35 dollars over the same period.

Under the 2010 constitution, the health functions have been devolved to the 47 county governments with the national government responsible for formulation of health policies.

The negotiations on the nurse CBA between the nurses union and the joint national and county governments have been ongoing since December 2016.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said the two changes on allowances and uniforms will be factored into the budget for the 2018/19 financial year.

Mailu said they all agreed that the government will not be able to incur extra expenses in the 2017/18 financial year.

“Though we end the strike today, I would say what has happened to the health sector in the last 12 months is regrettable,” he added.



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