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Friday, August 18, 2017

CoG directs all county bosses to stop remittances to nurses’ union

KNUN deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu (C) and other union officials lead members in Uhuru Park, where they gathered for a march to the Council of Governors’ offices on Tuesday last week. They demanded the signing of their CBA /JACK OWUOR
KNUN deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu (C) and other union officials lead members in Uhuru Park, where they gathered for a march to the Council of Governors’ offices on Tuesday last week. They demanded the signing of their CBA /JACK OWUOR

The Council of Governors has directed the county bosses to stop remitting nurses’ monthly contributions to the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

The CoG wants the union to demonstrate proof of compliance with the recognition agreement before further subscription fees are remitted.

The union has at least 26,000 members — 16,000 contribute at least Sh5 million monthly.

In a circular dated June 17, the CoG wants the counties to wait until the leadership of the union is determined.

“We are aware that the ongoing strike has been joined by nurses who are members of other unions such as KUDHEIHA, KCGWU and KUCS,” the circular reads.

The strike enters its 15th day.

Speaking to the Star yesterday, KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako described the move as one aimed at paralysing the union’s operations.

“We will continue running the union using other contributions and let [CoG chairman Josephat] Nanok know that if they block the contributions, the nurses will contribute directly to the union to sustain this course,” he said.

Panyako added that the threats are empty and will not interfere with the ongoing strike.

“Subscription to a trade union is what determines the membership of the union and what the CoG is trying to do is to infringe upon the rights of the nurses and freedom of association,” he said.

Panyako reaffirmed that the strike will continue, despite a fallout among union officials.

KNUN deputy secretary general Maurice Opetu said he could not comment on the matter, terming it “a sideshow created by the government and the Council of Governors to distract the nurses from the push for the CBA to be signed.

“It has no impact and will not let the nurses relent because we will soldier on until our demands are met,” he told the Star on the phone on Saturday.

The governors say the strike is illegal. They have ordered the health workers to resume work or be sacked.

Opetu told the CoG and the county and national governments to focus on the problem at hand without going for sideshows.

“They should sign the CBA that was negotiated by them with the nurses’ union,” he said.

More than 23,000 nurses across the 47 counties are demanding the registration of the CBA. They need no further negotiations, saying the CBA was concluded in January.

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