Sh7.5bn deal ends five month nurses boycott


From left: Council of Governors chairman Josphat Nanok, Health Secretary Cleopa Mailu and nurses union secretary-general Seth Panyako address the Press on November 3, 2017. photo | dennis onsongo | nmg

Nurses have received additional allowances of Sh7.5 billion, ending a five-month strike that brought services in public hospitals to a halt.

The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) signed the return-to-work deal with the Council of Governors (CoG) and the national government offering the health workers an annual uniform allowance of Sh15,000 and a monthly risk allowance of Sh23,000.

This means the 26,000 nurses will earn Sh7.1 billion in annual risk allowance and Sh390 million as uniform perks. The pay will be effected from July next year.

“With the powers conferred on me by the nurses’ union constitution and the labour laws, I hereby declare that the strike that had begun on 5th June 2017, is officially called off and our members are advised to go back to work with immediate effect,” Seth Panyako, the nurses union secretary general, said Thursday.

The strike started after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission rejected a pay deal that was to be signed by the union, the national government and county governments.

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The nurses had been fighting for risk allowances of Sh15, 400 per month, extraneous allowances of Sh5,000 per month and uniform allowance to be increased to Sh50,000 per year from Sh10,000.

It is expected that the end of the strike will ease troubles for the government, which is negotiating with lecturers of public universities to return to work after they went on strike on Wednesday because a March salary rise deal had not been effected.

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Health secretary Cleopa Mailu and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, who is the COG chairman, hailed the deal. “We have a deal,” Mr Nanok said.

Under the deal, the uniform allowance will be increased to Sh20,000 in the year starting July 2019 and Sh25,000 a year later.

Risk perks will rise to Sh26, 500 in the year starting July 2019 and rise to Sh30,000 in the year ending June 2021.

The unpaid salaries covering the past five months will be released while disciplinary cases and court suits against the nurses have been dropped.