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February 19, 2019

We’ll strike if county fails to listen to us, say Busia nurses

Nurses in Busia county protest over the non-implementation of their CBA in June 19, 2017. /JANE CHEROTICH
Nurses in Busia county protest over the non-implementation of their CBA in June 19, 2017. /JANE CHEROTICH

Nurses in Busia have dismissed claims that they held talks with the county government to call off a strike set for February 18.

Their union’s branch chairman Isaiah Omondi yesterday said they have served the county government with a strike notice. The nurses are protesting against an “unfulfilled” return-to-work formula agreement.

Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi on Wednesday told journalists the county government has talked to the union officials to call off the strike. “We have agreed with their officials that the nurses will be paid as per the government payment system. The human resource committee and the Public Service Board will deal with the issue of the nurses’ promotion,” he said.

Omondi said the more than 500 nurses will boycott work if the county government fails to put its house in order. The governor has instructed the Finance department to expedite the payment of the health cafegivers’ allowances, Mulomi said.

But Omondi dismissed Mulomi’s remarks as “public relations”.

He said the county health sector is in a pathetic condition and “somebody should be in prison”.

“It is either they implement or we go on strike,” Omondi said.

He said they gave the county government two years since the last strike, but nothing has been done.

“The last time Busia nurses went on strike was in 2017. We have given them more than enough time, why do they have to wait for us to go on strike before they act?” Omondi asked.

He said the county has a shortage of nurses and promotion of staff should be automatic.

The county, Omondi said, is planning for structures but not staff. “Every now and then, the county holds a head count, meaning that they have ghost workers earning money,” he said.

Patients are also planning a demonstration due to lack of drugs, Omondi said. “Busia owes Kemsa over Sh40 million and we lack drugs in our facilities,” he said.

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