Striking nurses under the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) yesterday blamed governors of prolonging the current health stalemate in the country by inflating figures of the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The nurses said the nationwide strike, now in its 36th day, was fuelled by governors Sh40 billion costing for CBA implementation to the Salaries and Renumeration Commission (SRC) and the Treasury instead of Sh7.52 billion, thus making the two institutions reluctant to sign the document.
Speaking during their weekly peaceful demonstrations in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park yesterday, the officials welcomed the reviewed salary structure of State officers for the period 2017-2022 announced by SRC yesterday, saying it was timely.
KNUN acting secretary general Maurice Opetu said SRC has no justification to decline to sign the CBA after their announcement yesterday that Sh 8, 853,204,952 would be saved yearly from the new salary structure.
“Today we are a happy lot because we have been told that the salaries for State officers have been reduced and a total of Sh 8 billion will be saved. Our CBA only costs Sh 7.25 billion in a year and so this money should be used to implement the CBA that they negotiated with nurses because it is very affordable,” said Opetu.
Further, Opetu condemned the Council of Governors which recently called on the Labour ministry to resolve the nurses’ dispute citing the proposed nurses allowances in the draft CBA were too high and not affordable to both the National and County governments.
“I do not understand how the governors can tell the Labour ministry to intervene when the SRC is well updated about the CBA and it was also the one that guided the government during the negotiations.
We had tabled documents to the Labour ministry and made a statement but they are also hiding,” said Opetu. Knun acting chair Joseph Ngwasi cautioned that the union will not re-open negotiations.
“Last week, while signing a CBA with doctors, the governors pleaded that we renegotiate December’s deal. This will not happen. The problem with the government is that it wants us to reopen negotiations on a document that was already agreed upon,” he said.