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Mombasa nurses down tools over unpaid arrears

Mombasa  Nurses and Doctors  issued a strike notice of a go slow over salary demands compromising service delivery at public hospitals in Mombasa.

The  Health  Services in Mombasa will experience crisis starting January 15,

Dr. Chibanzi  Mwachanda (left),the National Secretary General Kenya Medical pharmacists and Dentists Board Union (KPMDU), (centre) Dr. Abidan Mwachi, Secretary KPMDU Coast Branch and (right) Dr. Niko Gichana, Deputy Secretary Coast Branch during Wednesday’s January 8, 2020 strike notice in Mombasa. Photo by KNA.

2020, as health practitioners announced fresh strike notice should the Mombasa County Government fail to remit pending salary arrears.

Some 700 heath officers drawn from the nurses, clinical officers, laboratory officers and pharmacists announced that come January 15, they will completely down their tools, demanding pending December salary areas.

Through  the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Mombasa Chapter, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) also demand, including of leave allowances, employment of staffs on contracts to permanent and sensible as well as pending promotions for staffs.

Over 700 officers have been affected among them 55 doctors, 50 clinical offices, 40 laboratory officers, and 50 pharmacists. Mombasa County attributes the problem to delays on disbursement of County Allocation from Treasury.

The KNUN Mombasa Secretary, Peter Maroko, said Mombasa County was playing games with the lives of Kenyans and has not shown indication of remitting December salaries for all health practitioners.

“We want a Health Service Commission to be formed, this will help solve our woes. Just like how teachers have Teachers Service Commission. These counties are mistreating workers, therefore, affecting the morale of staff,” said Maroko.

He said some 343 new members who joined the Union recently have not received the salaries of the last three months, therefore, straining their performance.

Maroko also accused the County for making tax deductions for employees and failing to remit it to the Kenya Revenue Authority.

“We are facing the same situation as KMPDU, we want to announce that a major strike is underway. We will completely down tools if by January 15, our members will not have gotten all their demands,” said  Abidan Mwachi, the Mombasa County KMPDU Secretary.

Health Services at all Public Hospitals in Mombasa were paralyzed for the better part of the day on Wednesday, as Nurses staged a go slow demanding remittance of December salary arrears by the Mombasa County Government.

“We have paid for a heart screening for our sister but we are yet to get the services. She was supposed to get a screening test today but it has been pushed until a later date. We don’t know the reason but we suspect it’s because the doctors are on a go slow,” said a patient at the Coast General Hospital who did not want to be named for fear of victimization.

Currently, the County Government is operating without County Executive Committee Members (CECMs) whose contracts expired on November 12, 2019.

The  Cabinet constituting 10 CECM were serving on a contract of two years from November 13, 2017 handed over their offices to their respective Chief Officers immediately on expiry.

“The County Chief Finance Officer only told us that they are yet to get the allocation from the treasury but we read mischief, how then do other counties pay their staff if they are yet to receive salaries, he is playing games with us. You can’t run a government with some vacuums and expect it to run smoothly,” said Maroko.

Further, the County does not have a County Public Service Board after the term of previous members expired a year ago, thus making it hard to hire staff.

The  KMPDU National Secretary General, Dr. Chibanzi  Mwachanda

said Mombasa County Government has been unable to address nurses’ welfares in terms of salaries remuneration and promotions.

To complicate the matter, the employment contracts for Chief Officers who have been in charge of departments since exit of the former CECs is also set to expire on January 31.

By  Joseph  Kamolo

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