Bungoma nurses suspend strike after deal with county government

Bungoma County Health Chief officer Patrick Wandili (in the middle) with Bungoma nurses union officials addressing the press in Bungoma town. The nurses have suspended their planned strike after reaching a deal with the county government. 

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

Nurses in Bungoma County have suspended a planned strike after striking a deal with the local government on a number of contentious issues.

The suspension was announced by the Bungoma branch of the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

The union had issued a 14-day strike notice on April 19, citing the county government’s failure to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement signed by both sides.

Union officials, led by chairman Felix Wasike and secretary George Barasa, said the decision to suspend the strike followed a successful meeting with county health officials.

“We thank the county health officials for engaging us in these 14 days and we have come out victorious, especially our nurses,” said Mr Wasike.

The union officials revealed that 365 of their members had been promoted, 244 confirmed, and comprehensive health insurance covers had been fully paid.

“We are glad to say that the county government has shown us goodwill and are willing to work in harmony with the branch managers to ensure that all the pending issues, in particular the confirmations and transitions of our staff to permanent and pensionable, are implemented in June,” Mr Wasike said.

However, he clarified that the strike notice has not been cancelled but only suspended, in case their demands are not fully met.

Health and Sanitation Chief Officer Patrick Wandili confirmed that officials had held a series of meetings with the union managers before and after the notice was served.

“We have been having effective dialogue and we are happy that out of the six contentious issues that had been brought forward, a number have been sorted,” he said.

Mr Wandili said that among the confirmations issued were interns who initially worked under the national government but now work for the county.

On the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover, he said the medics will have it for the next one year.

Mr Barasa said the county government had agreed to fulfill several of their demands.

“We have agreed that they will ensure payment of increased risk allowance, release of resignation and confirmation letters, payment of NHIF deficits, release results of healthcare workers interviewed six months ago, consideration of two job groups for officers who have stayed in one job group for long and lastly, initiating the process of transitioning into permanent and pensionable service of healthcare workers working on contract,” he said.

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