JANUARY ARREARS

Vihiga nurses issue strike notice over unpaid salaries

Union leaders say they will cripple health services if the county officials fail to meet their obligation

In Summary

• In a letter dated February 10 addressed to the county secretary, the nurses’ union they are unable to pay rent and buy food because of the salary delays. 

• Vihiga Health CEC Amos Kutwa said he could not comment on the matter because it involved the payment of salaries. 

Health workers during a past event.
Health workers during a past event.
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA
Kenya National Union of Nurses Vihiga chairperson Zadock Miheso.
Kenya National Union of Nurses Vihiga chairperson Zadock Miheso.
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

Vihiga nurses will go on strike on Monday if the county government fails to pay their January salaries by Saturday.

In a letter dated February 10 addressed to the county secretary, the nurses’ union said members are unable to pay rent and buy food because of the salary delays. 

Kenya National Union of Nurses Vihiga chairman Zadock Miheso said they will cripple health services if the county officials fail to meet their obligation.  

 

Miheso spoke to the Star on the phone Thursday morning when reached for comment about the strike notice.  

“It’s so disappointing that you are an employee of the county government but you cannot meet your personal needs.

“Some of us have families to take care of and children in school who need school fees but the county has held us hostage,” Miheso said.

The letter was received by the acting county secretary Philip Gavuna on February 10. 

Vihiga Health CEC Amos Kutwa said he could not comment on the matter because it involved the payment of salaries. 

He referred the Star to Finance CEC Alfred Indeche who said he was holed in a meeting and could not take calls. 

 

A source told the Star the National Treasury is yet to release funds to Vihiga due to pending bills to suppliers and contractors.

He said the assembly had factored Sh450 million to settle those pending bills as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

But the union dismissed the pending bills' explanation, saying that recurrent expenditure in the county cannot be affected by them.

Miheso said that the salary is a right and has to be paid on time.  

This development comes as the newly recruited health workers continue a court battle over their fate.  

In October last year, Governor Wilber Ottichilo said they would sack more than the 200 nurses who were hired irregularly. 

Ottichilo said the process was not clear and lacked proper documentation for transparency and accountability. The county had budgeted for 149 workers only.

"However, the County Public Service Board by then ruined the entire process by recruiting 380 extra workers," the governor said. 

He said the extra staff had caused a standoff in salary payment due to increased wage bill.

Some 254 workers were hired under unclear circumstances, among whom 146 were offered direct employment and 108 employed without being shortlisted, Ottichilo said last year.