Mombasa health workers call off strike

Mombasa nurses call off strike

What you need to know:

  • Governor Hassan Joho's administration has assured residents that his county will normalise averting health crisis.
  • The Chair of the County Service Public Board Farida Abdallah said the crisis is over.

More than 1000 Mombasa county health workers, including nurses, clinical officers and laboratory technicians, have called off their three months strike after reaching an agreement with their employer.

The Governor Hassan Joho's administration has further assured the residents that his county will normalise averting health crisis by negotiating with the workforce in advance.

Speaking during a press conference at the governor’s office in Mombasa, the acting county secretary Joab Tumbo and acting health executive Dr Godffrey Nato said services at public hospitals and dispensary will resume from tomorrow.

“We have had a breakthrough and resolve the key issues from our health workers who have been on strike. The issue of delayed salaries, we have endeavored to pay. We only have a pending January salaries. We had a backlog of statutory deductions to settle. We have about 50 percent of that,” said Mr Tumbo.

Striking health workers

Dr Nato said the issues that kept the county on the negotiations table with the striking health workers included promotions, salary delays and remittance of statutory deductions which have all been addressed.

“But on statutory deductions hopefully by March this year we will have finalized it. Mombasa residents are in dire need of services. I thank health workers union for officially calling off the strike. The negotiations were long drawn, it has taken about three months but we are glad that we have finally reasoned and the need to serve Mombasa residents prevailed,” said Dr Nato.

Mombasa health workers

Mombasa County health workers march to county offices on January 19, 2021. Workers have given the county government a five-day ultimatum to pay their salaries or they will seek alternative ways to address the issue.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The health boss stressed on the need of resolving issues through dialogue in boardroom negotiations instead of going to court.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary general Mombasa branch Franklin Makanga said his Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) counterpart Peter Maroko and the Kenya National Union of Laboratory Officers Moses Maingi and officials representing lower cadres of health staff including physiotherapist and mortuary attendants from Kenya Health Professionals Society said all their members will resume duties from tomorrow after calling off their strike.

Essential services

“We don't take pride in engaging strikes. The strike dented the fight against the pandemic. But we now want to move forward and focus on what's ahead of us,” said Mr Tumbo.

Mr Maroko promised to always seek dialogues instead of industrial action.

“But going forward the government should look at us as essential services. We want to be addressed as priority. But following the engagement we thereby call off the strike and ask our union members to return to work immediately,” he said.

Mr Maingi said they have resolved not to take the striking route again to ensure that residents of Mombasa don't suffer.

Return to work formula

The Chair of the County Service Public Board Farida Abdallah said the crisis is over.

“We thank God that this crisis is over, it is humbling to say that after three months of back and forth, we signed a return to work formula. The winner has been the citizens of Mombasa. Our doors are always open for negotiations. We hope and pray we will never get to such levels,” she insisted.

Mr Maroko said it is the responsibility of the director of health and safety to ensure they have a safe working environment.

“Having being declared Covid-19 as an occupational disease, we hope that this will be dealt with. We want to ensure that our members will not be disadvantaged as they get back to work,” he added.


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