Nurses at Kenyatta National Hospital yesterday went on strike again over what they termed infringement of their rights to join a trade union.
They accused the management of barring them from joining the Kenya National Union of Nurses, claiming they had not met the requirements.
The workers cited the assault of a nurse by a bereaved mother on October 14. “Our colleague was hurt but the management has not taken any action or given any information regarding the patient who assaulted the nurse,” a nurse said.
They said management had promised to give a report on investigations into the assault.
The hospital management has defended itself, saying those who want to join the union should follow protocol. “The nurses protesting that they are being denied their rights to join the union are in Kudheiha and the hospital cannot open parallel payroll for both unions,” head of communication Ithae Maina told the press.
He said any nurse willing to join KNUN should first leave Kudheiha (Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers).
Meanwhile, Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko criticised KNUN secretary general Seth Panyako for inciting the nurses to go on strike.
Kioko said the strike was uncalled for and Panyako wants to force nurses to move from Kudheiha, instead of allowing them to choose their preferred union.
“I’m not aware that the SG has been arrested but the most important thing is that the nurses have gone back to work,” he said.
During the protests, Panyako was arrested after police accused him of inciting the nurses to strike without a permit.
The union boss had gone to KNH to support the striking nurses to have them registered under KNUN and address the issue of security.
He was arrested after he told the striking nurses he will talk to the CEO and get them registered in KNUN. “…they have a right to be in the union and the management should not deny them,” Panyako said.
“I know some management officers have been bribed by Kudheiha not to allow the recognition of KNUN in Kenyatta hospital.” Several protesting nurses were also arrested.