The hard stance taken by the Council of Governors and the Kenya National Union of Nurses is to blame for the ongoing nurses’ strike, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has said.
Dr Mailu has also absolved the government from any blame saying the suffering and deaths that has been witnessed since the strike started is as a result of both sides refusing to give dialogue a chance.
“What is happening is unacceptable and the nurses’ union and the Council of Governors should put aside their differences and give dialogue a chance in order to end the suffering of innocent citizens,” said Dr Mailu.
He said the national government has no hand in the contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and was not party to sign the document.
The CS said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) gave guidance on the signing process but it stalled midstream because the union and the CoG did not consult it.
The CS was speaking in Nakuru on Wednesday where represented President Uhuru Kenyatta during the official ground breaking ceremony of Kabarak University Teaching, Research and Referral Mission Hospital.
Dr Mailu said that negotiations for a CBA must be handled within the provided labour regulations and timelines without disrupting services and hurting patients.
“It’s not appropriate to punish Kenyans simply because the employer and the employee have disagreed on matters remuneration,” he added
He said during the initial strike, both parties had agreed to sign the CBA and urged them to respect the earlier talks.
He said while the nurses have a constitutional right to go on strike, that privilege should not be used to inflict suffering and deaths to Kenyans seeking services in public hospitals.
He welcomed the move by the Central organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) to mediate to end the strike.