The Narok Governor, Samuel Tunai has ordered all striking nurses to resume their duties immediately or be sacked.
Tunai reiterated that the county administration will not engage in any more talks with the nurses nor will they add a single penny to their pay slips, saying they were being paid way more than any other professional in the county.
The county boss noted that the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) whose mandate is to advice on salaries, had advised the county governments not to increase the salaries of the nurses.
“We have checked their salaries and realized nurses are paid more than engineers, teachers or other professionals. A nurse with only a certificate is being paid Sh 80, 000 while an engineer of the same carder gets Sh 35, 000. This is unacceptable,” he said.
The County boss was speaking at the Narok County Referral Hospital when he flagged off drugs worth Sh. 32 million that will be distributed to all health facilities in the county.
Tunai said a committee of ten formed by the Council of Governors to look at the issue have held several consultations and have agreed with the National Government that no county will add a single shilling to the striking nurses.
“They either accept what we have already given them or pack and go. We have no more room for negotiation. In fact, those living in government houses should start packing as we are in the process of employing new nurses,” said Tunai.
Already, Tunai said the county government had asked the Public Service Board to issue show cause letters to the nurses and put up adverts for the position of nurses.
“Last time we put an advert looking for nurses, we got over 2500 persons who were qualified looking for the job. I assure you that in two weeks’ time, we will have employed new nurses and normalcy returned in the hospital,” said Tunai.
Nevertheless, the second term serving governor reiterated that all nurses in the county will be paid on contract and those who return to work will be forced to sign a new contract letter.
“We will deduct their salaries for the days they have not worked because the strike is illegal. If they are not willing to return they can move to private clinics because we are no longer willing to be blackmailed and intimidated,” an angry Tunai reiterated.
He however, applauded 22 nurses who had rejected their Union bosses call to go on strike and have been attending to patients in the hospital.
“I direct the 22 nurses to be promoted immediately. They have proved that they are not money driven but are ready to serve Kenyans despite the less money in their pockets. The other 300 will serve as a good example,” he said.
The nurses have however stood their grounds and vowed not to resume their duties until their demands are fully met.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Narok Branch Secretary, Elkana Mwonge said the threats from the governor will not scare them because they were fighting for their rights.
The over 300 nurses in Narok county downed their tools five days ago, paralyzing operations at various health centers in the county.
He said despite the union issuing a strike notice in October 2018, no one has bothered to engage them in any kind of dialogue a situation that angered them more.
The branch secretary said among the issues under concern was delayed promotions among their members despite most of them having furthered their education and heavy burden of nursing because of their small numbers.
Nurses defied a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to report to work who also directed the Health ministry and county governments to dismiss nurses who defy the court order to suspend the strike.
The Council of Governors Chairman, Person Wycliffe Oparanya also advised various counties not to remit money to the nurses’ union saying it would no longer be the responsibility of county governments to deduct union dues from the health workers’ pay and remit to the unions.
Some Counties have already issued show cause letters to the striking nurses.
By Ann Salaton