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Striking nurses walk out of talks

Sarah Ndung’u and Njogu Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe

Hopes of ending the ongoing nurses strike hit a snag yesterday after a planned reconciliation meeting between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the union aborted.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) acting secretary general Maurice Opetu accused CoG of blackmailing the union into calling off the strike before signing an agreement. “No amount of intimidation or blackmail will change our resolve to push for the signing of the negotiated and agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by both levels of government.

The ongoing strike will continue until our grievances are met by the CoG and government,” he said. He took issue with the COG chairman Josphat Nanok for failing to show up and sending representatives at the meeting.

They claimed Nanok has been a stumbling block to the talks to end the job boycott adding on several occasions he has called on the caregivers to resume work as talks to end the paralysis continue but nurses have dismissed him. “The CoG and Ministry of Health are aware of our demands, which are within our legal rights,” said Opetu.

He asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and help resolve the standoff between them on one hand, and the CoG and the Health ministry on the other. The strike entered its 47th day yesterday.

The workers maintained they are not ready to renegotiate the CBA signed in March. “Most Kenyans hoped we would call off the strike to enable nurses resume work and help doctors fight the cholera epidemic ,” said KNUN chairman Joseph Ngwasi.

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