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Garissa health workers call off strike

Garissa health workers have called off their three days’ strike that had threatened to polarise health services across all public health facilities.

The decision came after the county government agreed to their terms and signed a favourable return-to-work formula.

The agreement was reached during a meeting chaired by Garissa County Secretary Abdi Sheikh and attended by other senior county officials.

Dr Hassan Abdi, the acting chairman Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) today told KNA on phone that the workers were happy that the government had agreed to address their grievances.

On September 28 Garissa health workers issued a 14 days’ strike notice over delayed salary, poor working conditions among other grievances.

In the letter addressed to the country secretary, chief officer public health and the county public service board CEO dated September 25 and signed by various union leaders in the county, the health workers threatened to paralyse operations at the biggest county referral hospital and other various health facilities in the sub-counties.

On Saturday, the health workers made good their threat and for 3 days paralysed services at the Garissa Referral hospital before the county administration initiated the talks.

“We are satisfied with the steps so far taken and shall start attending to patients who have been suffering,” Dr Hassan said.

Matters agreed upon included; promotions, re-designation, NHIF Medical Cover, Statutory deductions and payment of salaries. The agreement stipulates that uniform allowances for nurses will be paid in the month of October alongside the salary. Also agreed was that leave allowance will be paid in staggered phases in three-month period starting January 2021. The three years arrears will also be paid during this period.

The agreement stated that within 60 days the county government will expedite the process of promotion and commit to improving the working environment of health workers immediately funds from the national government are received. The county government also committed to remitting all the statutory deductions.

It also promised to pay salaries promptly, now that the issue of revenue allocation has been resolved and all parties agreed the issue of absorption of locum healthcare workers will be tabled to the board for deliberations.

And in the spirit of positive dialogue, no union member or official who participated in the strike would be victimised or intimidated, with the county government being fully cognizant of the employees’ right to picket.

The meeting was attended by the deputy County Secretary Abdirashid Hussein, health chief officer Abdishukri Abdi, director health – administration Abdullahi Daud, Secretary to the Public Service Board Mohamed Abdi, Payroll Manager Yussuf Mohamed.

Also in attendance included the Head of PR at PGH Jamal Omar, Head of HR Health Ibrahim Mohamed, Union representatives from the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union, Kenya National Union of Nurses, Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory officers, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers among others.

By Jacob Songok

 

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