Meru makes Sh17m loss as nurses strike

For two weeks the county has not been able to charge levies in public hos­pi­tals

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - KIRIMI MURITHI @Mu­rithik

The on­go­ing nurses’ strike in Meru has de­layed the prepa­ra­tion of the county em­ploy­ees’ pay­roll and caused the county to lose more than Sh17 mil­lion in rev­enue in two weeks, an of­fi­cial has said.

Meru county sec­re­tary Julius Ki­mathi and Health chief of­fi­cer James Gi­tonga spoke to the press on Wed­nes­day.

“We only charge levies from the Level 4 and 5 hos­pi­tals and since the strike started 14 days ago we had raised only Sh3 mil­lion, yet we nor­mally col­lect about Sh33 mil­lion per month,” Gi­tonga said.

“So up to now we have lost more than half of our [ex­pected] rev­enue.”

The two de­nied the county has sacked strik­ing nurses.

There are claims that county work­ers have not been paid due to the har­mon­i­sa­tion of the pay­roll to in­cor­po­rate the 1,200 ECDE teach­ers in per­ma­nent and pen­sion­able em­ploy­ment. There are also al­le­ga­tions the failure by the nurses to agree to a re­turn-to-work for­mula has con­trib­uted to work­ers miss­ing their pay.

Ki­mathi, how­ever, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

He re­gret­ted that ne­go­ti­a­tions for a re­turn-to-work for­mula hit a snag, but de­nied al­le­ga­tions that nurses are strik­ing be­cause of salary dis­putes.

“The only griev­ance was pro­mo­tions in the min­istry. The county govern­ment has al­ways dis­pensed salaries to the work­ers on time,” Ki­mathi said.

He blamed the nurses’ union of­fi­cials in Nairobi for the chaos in Meru.

“We reach out to our medics to have a hu­man heart and re­alise their im­por­tant noble vo­ca­tion and duty to our peo­ple,” Ki­mathi said.

“The govern­ment is will­ing to have our medics serv­ing the peo­ple and they should not al­low them­selves to be used as pawns in the political chess game.”


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