Nurses in Nyeri threaten strike over unpaid arrears

Nurses in Nyeri protests outside the County Government headquarters
Nurses in Nyeri protest outside the county government headquarters on May 8, 2017. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG  

Nurses in Nyeri have threatened to down their tools barely a month after they called off the countrywide strike that lasted five months, paralysing operations in public hospitals.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) branch Secretary-General Beatrice Nduati accused the county government of dishonesty.

She said the county lacks the goodwill to pay them salaries for the five months they were on strike.

Ms Nduati said despite having three meetings with the county public service, she had only got empty promises, with no reason advanced for the non-payment.

She said nurses were going without food and risked being locked out of their houses.

“We as the union believe there is still time for them to pay our salary arrears and we are giving them 11 days to do so, otherwise it will not be business as usual,” said Ms Nduati.

Planned for January

If the arrears are not paid, the nurses plan to start their strike in January.

“We have 11 days to pray, watch and polish our street boots to fight for our rights.

"We hope the government will find it wise to pay our arrears when it is still early enough to avoid unnecessary street battles,” she assured her colleagues.

The nurses say they have already served the county government with a notice informing them of the imminent strike.

Previously, the nurses have held protests against the county government for understaffing, poor working conditions and delayed salaries.

Currently, nurses who had been hired on contract of three months -- on Sh1,000 a day -- have not yet been paid.

"Even those who went back to work before we called off the previous strike have not been paid and we are all going out for our rights," she said