State to meet medics’ unions to end strikes

We re­gret that Kenyans suf­fered. We are work­ing to re­solve the mat­ter – Health PS

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji

State of­fi­cials have set a meet­ing next week with health work­ers’ unions coun­try­wide to find a way to end strikes.

Health PS Ni­cholas Muraguri yesterday said they will meet in Nairobi next Thursday and Fri­day. The fo­rum will in­volve health work­ers’ unions and of­fi­cials from the Health and De­vo­lu­tion min­istries, the Coun­cil of Gov­er­nors, the Salaries and Re­mu­ner­a­tion Com­mis­sion and the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Re­la­tions Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee.

The meet­ing was agreed at State House last week af­ter the Kenya Na­tional Union of Nurses threat­ened a na­tion­wide strike in Novem­ber.

More than 2,000 medics, in­clud­ing at least 450 doc­tors coun­try­wide, are on strike. They are de­mand­ing salary hikes and pro­mo­tions, and protest­ing against pay de­lays.

On Wed­nes­day, Nairobi county promised to pay by to­day all 253 strik­ing doc­tors who have not been paid for six months. Health work­ers have also gone on strike in Mig­ori, Kakamega, Nakuru and Ny­eri coun­ties.

Muraguri said he is con­cerned by the dis­rup­tion of health ser­vices. “We re­gret the suf­fer­ing that Kenyans have ex­pe­ri­enced... We are work­ing round the clock to solve the mat­ter,” he said.

Kisumu Gov­er­nor Jack Ranguma, who is also the chair­man of the CoG Health Com­mit­tee, blames the strikes on the state. He says it had not pro­moted thou­sands of medics for the last 10 years be­fore coun­ties took over.

“They now want us to pro­mote all of them and in­crease their salaries. Of course it is their right, but with the cur­rent bud­get al­lo­ca­tion, we don’t have enough money,” he said re­cently.

Muraguri said the min­istry would con­tinue of­fer­ing pol­icy guid­ance to county gov­ern­ments to avert strikes.

Kenya Med­i­cal Prac­ti­tion­ers, Phar­ma­cists and Den­tists’ Union sec­re­tary gen­eral Ouma Oluga wel­comed next week’s fo­rum. “We hope our con­cerns will be re­solved be­cause we need to ad­dress th­ese is­sues once and for all. We are ready to work,” he said.

But he said the slow pace of re­solv­ing griev­ances en­cour­ages fre­quent strikes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.