• The workers are protesting failure by the government to remit their third party deductions that include loans, NHIF, NSSF, among others.
• Other grievances are delayed salaries, understaffing and delayed promotions that have also affected service delivery in the county.
A planned health workers' strike in Taita Taveta is illegal, Taita Taveta Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui has said.
Mlagui said the strike is premature and in contravention of earlier signed return-to-work deal.
Five unions –Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), Kenya Health Professionals Society (KHPS), Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO) and Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) – have threatened to down tools from Monday.
They cite a failure by the government to pay salary and promotional arrears within the agreed period.
Majala, however, said the strike will jeopardise the negotiation process, as the government is already in the process of paying all outstanding arrears.
“A meeting was held with all unionised staffers and all these issues were discussed. There is absolutely no point of calling for a strike,” Mlagui said.
She said the county gave a progress update to the health workers during the meeting and they were satisfied that salaries had been paid within the agreed period.
The workers are protesting failure by the government to remit their third party deductions that include loans, NHIF, NSSF, among others.
Other grievances are delayed salaries, understaffing and delayed promotions that have also affected service delivery in the county.
The deputy governor said that the county labour director Stephen Gona will convene a meeting between the county government and unions on Tuesday.
“So any strike called before then shall be illegal,” she said.
Richard Nyambu, the inter-union communication officer, asked all health workers to be ready to resume the suspended strike if the government fails to fulfil their promises before Monday.
The unions called off a 14-day strike last month to pave way for the government to fulfil part of their bargain before November 11.
Nyambu warned that the health workers will down tools until their demands are met.
“All services shall be withdrawn until all the workers’ salary arrears dating back to 2014 are paid in totality and all casual workers, some of whom have not been paid for up to 12 months, are paid to the last penny,” he warned.
County assembly’s health committee chairman Frank Mmare asked the unions to give more time for the government to effect payments.
He said that funds to pay for the statutory deduction had been included in the supplementary budget that was signed by Governor Granton Samboja on Thursday.
“In this budget, we have increased the allocation for the health department to enhance efficiency through the purchase of pharmaceuticals and equipment. Let us give the government more time,” Mmare said.