Resume duty or face the sack, Nyong’o warns health workers

Friday, June 12th, 2020 00:00 | By
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o. Photo/Courtesy

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o yesterday threatened to sack all health workers who will fail to report to work today. 

This comes after health workers in the county downed tools last Wednesday over unresolved labour issues.

However, Nyong’o termed their strike “frivolous and unjustified” and ordered them back to work or face immediate sacking.

“I direct all health workers to report to their stations of duty by Friday 12, 2020 by 8.30am to undertake their duties.

Any health workers who will not have reported to their stations as directed shall be deemed to have absconded duty and will be removed from the payroll of the county government with immediate effect,” said the governor.

The county holds that health workers prematurely proceeded on strike before arbitration process jointly run by county health and labour departments as well as health workers unions came up with a way forward.

Health workers are accusing the county of deliberately overlooking them in promotions and failing to issue letters to those purported to have been promoted.

They say the  county also owes them salary arrears and has allegedly failed to roll out coronavirus bonuses.

Kisumu county promoted 1,007 health workers after unions intervened but re-designations and confirmation of the promoted workers has not happened.

The workers thus hold that the county is taking them for a ride and last Wednesday proceeded on strike.

A joint committee involving the unions was due to sit today to issue a progress report and the way forward but the workers said they were privy to tricks the county was using would not wait for it. It is this move that prompted the governor to threaten the workers with sacking.

The county says that both parties had reached common understanding on all the contentious issues and formed a joint committee with unions to monitor implementation of salaries and budgeting for arrears only for the health workers to bolt out of talks and down tools.  

Clear roadmap

“Despite all these efforts and clear roadmap agreed upon, the union leadership proceeded to call members to strike, remaining insensitive to the needs of the people for healthcare at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yet, there was absolutely no genuine reason to proceed on strike,” the governor said yesterday morning.   

Hospitals in the county remained closed as workers stayed away with the unions unrelenting on their agitation for immediate implementation of agreed plans.

They accuse the county of dishonesty in implementing the promotion and payment plans and hoodwinking the public that health workers’ demands were unreasonable.

“We advise colleagues to stay at home as we wait for the county government to act on our grievances,” said Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Kisumu branch secretary Maurice Opetu.

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