Governors suspend nurses’ union remittances over strike

Governors suspend nurses’ union remittances over strike

The Council of Governors (CoG) has ordered county governments to suspend payment of the nurses’ monthly contributions to the Kenya National Union of Nurses.

In a circular dated June 17, the CoG wants the counties to wait until the leadership of the union is determined.

Union Secretary General Seth Panyako and its besieged Chairman John Bii have sharply differed on the legality of the strike which enters its 15th day today, their union differences playing out last Friday at a press conference called by the union chair John Bii, which was violently disrupted by a team led by Secretary-General Seth Panyako.

Mr Panyako’s camp accused the rival group, led by Mr Bii, of being used by some individuals in the national and county governments to undermine the union’s activities.

Panyako said the strike is legal insisting it is a continuation of the December 2016 “suspended strike” after the nurses signed return-to-work agreements with the national government and the Council of Governors (CoG).

READ ALSOPanyako is misusing the nurses union’s money with his ‘second wife’, union chair John Bii says in court affidavit

Mr Bii, on the other hand, maintained that the strike is unprotected as there was no strike notice as is expected of an industrial action.

“The strike was called on June 5, 2017 without the input of the National Governing Council, which comprises three members from each county, over 156 members or so. Therefore, the strike became an illegality,” Bii said last Friday.

And now the Council of Governors, says any further remittances to the nurses’ union must be put on hold until the officials demonstrate proof of compliance with the agreement to both rival camps.

“We are aware that the ongoing strike has been joined by nurses who are members of other unions such as KUDHEIHA, KCGWU and KUCS,” reads the circular signed by CoG Chairman Josephat Nanok.

The union has at least 26,000 members. Of those 16,000 contribute at least Sh5 million monthly.

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