STRIKE ENDS

Don't victimise us, Busia health workers urge government

Return to work by nurses and clinical officersa relief to the county, ending the 72 -day strike

In Summary

•The 580 nurses and 131 clinical officers have urged the governor not to victimise them and consider paying their arrears dating back to December 1, 2020.

• Governor Ojaamong said there would be no retribution, though they were in the wrong; said he might consider paying salary arrears as a "humanitarian gesture". 

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong addressing striking nurses and clinical officers at Farm View Hotel on Monday, February 22.
STRIKE ENDS: Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong addressing striking nurses and clinical officers at Farm View Hotel on Monday, February 22.
Image: GILBERT OCHIENG

Busia nurses and clinical officers have ended their strike and asked the government not to victimise them.

They returned to work Monday evening.

Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said they would not be victimised, although they were in the wrong.

The 72-day strike began on December 7 and many people suffered for lack of treatment.

The health workers agreed to call off their strike on Monday after meeting Ojaamong.

The 580 nurses and 131 clinical officers  pleaded with the governor to pay their arrears dating back to December 1, 2020.

At a meeting brokered by the Bishops Forum on February 11 , the nurses refused to sign the return-to-work formula to end the stalement, saying it should include a promise not to victimise them.

Governor Ojaamong welcomed the end of the strike. He expressed disappointment, however, with union officials who told health workers on duty to leave and sent threatening messages to those who agreed to return to work.

The governor had issued an amnesty.

Ojaamong said the law is clear that workers are paid for work done, however, he said he may consider their appeal for salary arrears on humanitarian grounds.

Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi said the prolonged strike was unjustifiable since the governor had agreed to most of the demands, including Group Life Insurance, Covid-19 Insurance and NHIF cover.

The move by the nurses to call off the strike started with meetings initiated by the governor but the nurses stayed put in solidarity with their colleagues in other counties.

The meeting on Monday was also attended by county executives Phaustine Barasa (Finance), John Mwami (Public Service), Busia Bishops Forum chairman George Odhiambo and chief officer Jonathan Ino (Public Health).

Others were directors Janerose Ambuchi (Medical Services), Melsa Lutomia (Public Health), acting CEO/secretary County Public Service Board Martin Sikolia and board member Mondelane Musundi.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris