NAIROBI – A nationwide five-month nurse strike in Kenya has been finally called off, just as university lecturers countrywide began a similar action.
Nurses put down their tools for five months over delays of agreed wage rises which were meant to be approved in June by the union, the national government and county governments.
The strike started when the state commission that advises on public sector pay rejected a rise in nurse payment, saying the state had no money to do so.
According to the union, an agreement with the government has finally been met and nurses are expected to report back to work on Friday.
“We have asked all nurses to resume duty latest by Friday as we have met an agreement with the government,” union head Seth Panyako said.
According to Panyako, political unrest in the country in recent months also made it difficult for the union to negotiate with the government.
“Recent months where very tense because of presidential elections, we had to wait for the elections before we can start negotiations with the government,” said Panyako, adding that the re-run elections even delayed negotiations further.
Panyako also said the strike has largely affected patients countrywide, with patients having to be moved to expensive private hospitals.
As soon as the nurse strike was abolished on Thursday, lecturers started their own strike against “government’s continued failure” to implement a deal signed in March to boost salaries and housing allowances.