Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary Seth Panyako

Kenya:Reprieve as nurses’ strike suspended

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary Seth Panyako
Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary Seth Panyako

Three week long nurses’ strike that halted activities in several public hospitals across the country has been called off by the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN)

This announcement came after the union Secretary General Seth Panyako and others were summoned to court over contempt.

Appearing before Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Nelson Abuodha, the tough talking boss said the court order was not served on him.

“We have always been strong saying we have not been served and the moment we came across those court orders, we sent to the officials and they suspended the strike on the ground,” said Mr. Panyako.

Upon hearing that the strike has been suspended, Justice Nelson Abuodha pardoned Panyako and two others who appeared before him. However, they were warned of the dire consequences if they fail to obey court order in the future.

The court had suspended the strike in early February for sixty days to pave the way for the conciliation talks spearheaded by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani. Panyako ignored the directive and maintained that their grievances must be addressed first. Other parties in the talk are the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Council of Governors.

“What we want is the implementation of the salary agreement and not new negotiations,” said Panyako.

On February 13, President Kenyatta gave nurses an ultimatum of two days to report back to work of face the sack. The directive elapsed on February 15 and the nurses’ industrial action proceeded on.

“They will not report to work. We have instructed them to stay indoors so that they are not accused of doing anything wrong,” Panyako maintained.

Seeing nurses had ignored the injunctions, Council of Governors moved to court seeking an order to stop the strike. The Council pegged its argument on the disobedience to President’s order requiring the medial practitioners to resume work.

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