Striking nurses in Tana River County health facilities have opted to stay at home even as the government started instituting disciplinary action against their counterparts in other counties.
The nurses joined the strike on Monday after talks with the Dhadho Godhana-led county administration failed.
The nurses are demanding the full implementation of a return to work formula agreed upon by the Council of Governors and the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) during a five-month strike in 2017.
They are seeking enhanced uniform and service allowances, which the Controller of Budget and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission say are unconstitutional.
Speaking to the Kenya News Agency on phone while on his way to Nairobi, Branch Secretary, Damon Kwaraa said the nurses would not hold street demos to prevent union members from being attacked by security officers.
He said following the presidential order to nurses to return to work or get sacked, it would be imprudent for the nurses to take to the streets as they could be hurt should security officers attempt to disrupt the nurses’ demos.
“We have advised our members to remain at home or better still go out of the county till the strike is called off,” he said adding, “As I am talking to you, I am in Malindi on my way to Nairobi for a meeting.”
Despite a court order stopping the strike for 60 weeks to allow for negotiations, Kwaraa said the strike was protected as it revolved around a return to work formula that had been agreed upon by both parties in 2017.
“We are not scared by the threats to sack us. In fact this will be my fourth time to be sacked and reinstated. They can only sack us outside the existing laws and the constitution, which give us the right to picket,” he said.
A KNA spot check at Hola County Referral Hospital revealed that no nurse was at the health facility and the few patients in the wards and the out-patient department were being attended to by clinical officers.
Efforts to get a comment from Governor Dhadho Godhana or the County Health Executive, Mrs. Mwanajuma Hiribae, were not successful as they did not pick calls to their mobile numbers.
By Emmanuel Masha