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More deaths as SRC blames governors for pay deal ‘mess’

As countrywide strike by nurses entered its second day, eight people were reported dead as finger-pointing between the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Council of Governors intensified.

SRC chair Sarah Serem accused governors of failing to resolve the contested Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on time despite getting advisory to guide the negotiations in March.

She said the delay has been occasioned by failure of the governors to provide supporting evidence of budgetary allocations as evidence of affordability and sustainability.

“It is unfortunate that the council failed to take full responsibility for the matter as employer and are now engaging on blame game,” she said during a press conference in Nairobi yesterday. She blamed the governors for enhancing the proposals contained in the CBA without referring to SRC for input or advice.

She said the draft CBA exceeded the agreed figures in specific items such as basic salaries, health risk, responsibility and uniform allowances.

The council chair Josephat Nanok had on Monday said the draft proposal by the negotiation parties included Sh40.37 billion over and above what was approved in the return-to-work formula which is Sh3.47 billion for every fiscal year.

On health risk allowance, Serem said SRC had advised it should be within the range of Sh5,000 while the proposed figure tabled is Sh15,400. She also said the proposed uniform allowance has been exaggerated at Sh40,000 while the basic salary further distorts what was agreed upon.

“An unstructured way of awarding salary and allowances to public officers could lead to disharmony and spiral effect across the sector,” she warned.

The commission chair termed as unfortunate, the governors to request for a “no objection letter” from SRC while the CBA did not follow the right procedure.

To resolve the ongoing crisis, she called on the Council of Governors to get back to the negotiation table and come up with a CBA in line with SRC advice.

The stand-off raged as six patients died at the Coast General hospital with Mombasa county director of health Khadija Shikelly confirming that three patients died in the wards while two others passed on at the casualty after being referred from private hospitals within Mombasa. The third succumbed to head injuries following an accident.

County Health executive Omar Binti assured operations at the provincial general hospital were on after the county government resorted to use 70 contracted nurses within the public hospitals.

Another patient died in Kabarnet hospital in Baringo as others were discharged to seek medical attention elsewhere. A patient died at Maralal Referral hospital on Monday as patients interviewed urged the government to agree with nurses to avert more loss of life and suffering witnessed.

Knun Bomet branch secretary Bernard Cheruiyot said nearly 400 nurses from the county would join the strike from today. Operations in public hospitals remained paralysed in Kisumu County.

At the Kisumu county hospital, only doctors were available to attend to urgent cases while other patients were turned away, including a victim of mob justice who suffered serious injuries.

Antenatal care department was the worst hit as expectant mothers who had gone for check ups found no one to attend to them. A similar paralysis hit Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital and other public hospitals in the county. Same situation prevailed in Migori County.

In Nakuru, the Level Five Hospital which serves six counties stopped admitting new patients. . Kibiwott Kiptui from Mogotio was taken at the hospital casualty area at 7.00 am but five hours later he was still lying on the stretcher unattended.

Paul Emuria, a patient taken to the facility with a broken leg was at crossroad after he realised he had been abandoned. He was due for operation yesterday having paid to be operated upon.

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