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Police teargas KNH staff striking over unpaid allowances

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Police have tear-gassed Kenyatta National Hospital staff who staged a go-slow on Monday morning over non-payment of their health service allowances.

The workers allied to Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) had threatened to go on strike on the first week of August over allowances dating back to 2015.

They had written to the hospital’s CEO, informing the management of the industrial action.

Through their union, the 4,700 workers claim they are yet to be paid their allowances as recommended by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

Among those on strike are nurses and staff from other medical cadres who belong to Kudheiha.

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Leaders of the industrial action say they are waiting for the Secretary General of Kudheiha Albert Njeru to address them.

Normal running

Whereas the strike was expected to affect medical services at KNH, so far, the clash and go-slow have not interfered with the normal running of the country's referral facility.

A meeting slated for July 12, where the matter was to be discussed with a view of averting the strike, was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

Following the cancellation of the meeting, the union wrote a letter to KNH’s administration accusing the management of not providing an alternative date to sort out the stalemate.

While issuing the strike notice last month, Mr Njeru said the hospital’s management had demanded afresh the items in dispute despite having knowledge of the same for a while.

It is under the current circumstance that they decided to lift the suspended strike notice, planning to start their work stoppage on August 6.

In 2005, SRC recommended a health service allowance before issuing a second circular, which excluded some workers out.

“Employees in the support department in the health sub-sectors do not qualify to be paid health workers service allowance,” a circular from the SRC reads.

KNH sought funds to implement the allowances that were to be paid in two phases of 60 and 40 per cent in January and July last year.

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