Nurses in West Pokot County have protested the sacking of 112 nurses on contract by the County government for participating in the nurses’ strike pushing the government to honour the return to work formula of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. A number of nurses on contract in the County have received dismissal letters. This comes after more than 400 nurses in the County on Saturday called off their strike, bringing to an end three weeks of suffering by patients in the County.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) officials in the County, who issued a one-week ultimatum to the County government to immediately reinstate the 112 sacked nurses, threatened to paralyze health services in the County. They said they decided to end the strike after being directed by their KNUN Secretary General Seth Panyako to comply with the Court order suspending the strike to pave the way for negotiations.
They added that they are seeking legal redress over the matter terming the move by the County government to sack them political. Addressing the press in Kapenguria, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) West Pokot Secretary Mr. Simon Konocho said the County government should respect the nurses’ rights. “The County government hasn’t shown any interest to honour the agreement. Nurses should not be victimized for participating in the strike,” said Konoch. He insisted it was legal for the nurses to take part in the industrial action and that those who are still on duty have lost the motivation to work after their colleagues were sacked.
KNUN West Pokot Branch Chairman Noel Longronyang revealed that the County is faced with a shortage of nurses and some health centres are facing closure. He said the sacked nurses were informed to appeal within 90 days but they don’t know much about that, “We’ll look for a lawyer to interpret,” he said. He said politics shouldn’t be dragged into nurses’ affairs. However, West Pokot County Public Service Board chairman Jackson Nguriarengan confirmed that the board had only sacked 71 nurses employed on a contract basis.