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Kidero threatens to sack striking health workers

The Nairobi county government on Wednesday declared a strike by its nurses illegal and threatened to sack them.

The nurses kept off work for the third day Wednesday, paralysing operations in most public hospitals in the city.

The strike started on Monday after talks between the health workers and City Hall collapsed.

Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) asked its members to boycott work until their grievances were addressed.

NOT RECOGNISED

On Wednesday, Governor Evans Kidero said his administration only recognised the Kenya Government Workers Union.

“The current strike by the nurses is illegal and is mainly by nurses who belong to Knun,” he said.

However, Knun Nairobi branch secretary Eunice Ngari said they would only return to work when their grievances were addressed.

The workers have presented seven demands they want addressed by the county government.

They argue their counterparts, who worked under the defunct City Council of Nairobi, have better pay compared to those who joined the county government from the Health Ministry.

The nurses have also complained of “selective” promotions and delayed pay, saying they are yet to receive their August pay.

ISSUES RESOLVED

But Dr Kidero denied the claims, saying the county government had resolved all issues regarding salaries and allowances.

Most public hospitals in Nairobi were deserted on Wednesday as the standoff continued.

At Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, which was the most affected, patients had no one to attend to them. It was the same case at Mutui-ini Hospital in Dagoretti.

Most patients turned to private hospitals. Those who had been admitted to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital and had not cleared their bills were, however, not allowed to leave.

“I have been here for two weeks and the nurses had demanded that we clear our bills by Sunday but I did not have the money so I am stuck here,” said Ms Julia Njeri.