•Wahome has, however, laughed off claims of harassment and intimidation adding that he met the officials on September where they talked on way forward.
•On the issue of salary delay, Wahome said this is more of flow of funds from the national treasury and it is affecting the whole Country.
Meru health workers have issued seven days strike notice over what they termed as intimidation, harassment, salary delays and demotion.
Speaking at a hotel on Monday, the health officer’s union officials led by Clinical officers secretary general Moses Baiyenia, Mugambi Bakari, chair Kenya National Union of Nurses(Knun) and Nesbit Mugendi, Knun secretary general blamed their predicament on acting health chief officer Joseph Wahome.
“We are scared and at pain to face another cycle of staff harassment and intimidation. The question we ask ourselves is, will chief officers already on war path really address workers issues?” Baiyenia posed.
Wahome has, however, laughed off claims of harassment and intimidation adding that he met the officials on September where they talked on way forward.
On the issue of salary delay, Wahome said this is more of flow of funds from the national treasury and it is affecting the whole Country.
“That is not something within the control of the County government,” Wahome said.
On withheld salaries emanating from a court order, Wahame said Governor Mwangaza instructed the finance to start preparing it.
"It is ongoing and they will be paid," he said..
He said they were to form a work Council with which the administration will engage with on matters affecting workers.
“We haven’t started working as I am in acting capacity laying ground on a number of issues. We wouldn’t wish to harass our own staff. I am not so sure where this is coming from. I cannot give a feedback on their demand for me to be removed from office because they are not the appointing authority,” said
The officials said a meeting with Wahome to iron out their grievances especially staff harassment at Meru teaching and referral hospital did not materialize.
“In the meeting the chief officer rather than responding to our issues promised that he shall do things as he wants. We took those words lightly but true to his words last week on Thursday, one of the union official received transfer letter which he was expected to report to the new work station within 72 hours," Baiyenia said.
“As we speak the officer is undergoing too much pressure. Just like other county employees, he has not received salary for the month of October."
They said that Governor Mwangaza had directed they be paid with immediate effect but they are yet to be paid 2 months down the line.
They exonerated Governor Kawira Mwangaza from their suffering and praised her for her commitment to see smooth health service delivery to Meru residents.
“We know our governor; all along she has publicly declared that it is new beginning for the workers. She has raised our hope and spirits in believing that we shall never again be treated in inhuman manner. We are humbly calling upon her to come to the rescue of workers,” Baiyenia said.
Mugambi said last week, labour court sitting in Nyeri vindicated the workers by ruling against county government and awarded several millions to workers.
They lamented that almost 700 officers’ salaries were withheld for January, February and March 2021 for being involved in strike.
“Before we can celebrate this major victory, the current acting chief officer has started committing similar offences. We therefore demand that the current acting chief officer be removed with immediate effect,” they said.
Mugendi said the unions and members stand for and committed diplomacy and dialogue as first option for dispute resolutions
This comes even as County fights to contain Cholera outbreak where 14 cases have been confirmed.
Meru deputy Governor Isaac Mutuma appealed to Meru residents to exercise hygiene, to curb the spread of cholera.
Meru public health officers have been on high alert urging hawkers to suspend food hawking until the disease is contained.
All public health officers have been directed to carry out food hawking crackdown as under the public health Act cap 242 and food and chemical substances Act cap 254 laws of Kenya.