BERNARD GITAU and ALVIN MWANGI
Striking nurses at the Kenyatta National Hospital resumed duties Friday after Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) struck a deal with the Ministry of Health, ending the four-day go-slow.
The more than 2,700 nurses went on a go-slow four days ago protesting the move by KNH management to block them from joining Knun. Previously, nurses at the country’s largest referral facility were members of the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha), but some wanted to switch to Knun.
Knun secretary general Seth Panyako (pictured) said the ministry had agreed to address nurses grievances, including allowing them to join the union.
“Nurses chose this union in 2013 but were frustrated but they remained focused. Health Principal secretary during a meeting directed KNH to allow the nurses to belong to the union of their choice,” he said.
Panyako had earlier been arrested and charged in court for allegedly inciting the nurses, majority of who are not Knun members.
“Together with other nine nurses, we are facing charges based on flimsy and fabricated accusations and cannot with stand test of the law,” he said.
The nurses had also cited insecurity as well as frustration by the KNH management, as a reason for desire to join Knun.
Panyako said after one week, KNH and Knun would sign recognition agreement paving way for nurses to officially join the union.
“After this, the KNH management will be tasked to start deducting union dues which will be remitted to Knun coffers,” he said.
After the registration, Panyako said, the union will start the process of negotiating for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for its members at KNH.
Meanwhile, KNH management urged nurses who want to join Knun to follow the right process as stipulated by the law.
“ The management has no intention to stop the nurses from joining the union of their choice or refuse to recognise any union. However, parties must follow due process as stipulated in the law,” CEO Dr Thomas Mutie said in a statement that was sent to newsrooms on Thursday evening.
He also asked those who wish to join other unions to resign from their current unions and present resignation letters to the hospital administration.