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November 20, 2017

Court blocks four counties from recruiting nurses to replace strikers

Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako during the Nurses Press briefing in Nairobi on June16,2017.
PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.
Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako during the Nurses Press briefing in Nairobi on June16,2017. PHOTO/ENOS TECHE.

Striking nurses in four counties won a reprieve yesterday after a court blocked four county governments from recruiting replacements.

Nurses wanted Laikipia, Machakos, Murang’a and Taita Taveta counties stopped from recruitment until the strike is resolved.

The strike is in its fifth month.

The nurses rushed to the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nyeri on Tuesday after the four counties separately advertised vacancies for new nurses in three newspapers.

Judge Bryam Ongaya stopped the four counties from interviewing applicants or hiring them, but said the orders were only temporary.

He also directed the counties and the Kenya National Union of Nurses to resolve the strike amicably.

“The respondents [county governments] shall not undertake selection, appointment or employment of other persons with a view of replacing the members still in employment,” Ongaya said.

The nurses strike started on June 5. It is now in its fifth month.

The Council of Governors says 60 per cent of nurses have returned to work.

Those still striking were served with show cause letters, but did not respond.

In their application before Justice Ongaya, the nurses said they are ready to go back to work if the counties sign a return-to-work formula.

“It is our prayer the government would come out boldly and address the strike,” Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako (pictured) said. The nurses went on strike to demand registration of their draft CBA.

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