City Hall has moved in to avert a planned strike of nurses and clinical officers in the county after reaching a deal with the two unions representing them.
This comes after Kenya Clinical Officers Union (KUCO) and Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) had last week issued a 7-day strike notice, which lapsed on Monday midnight, raising concerns over stalled promotions and re-designations of their members.
In light of this, the county on Wednesday announced it had promoted and re-designated 2, 153 staff including the nurses and the clinical officers.
Nairobi County acting Health Executive Vesca Kangogo said the above staff belong to the common cadre (the first four grades or entry level) and comes after Governor Mike Sonko had directed that all eligible workers be promoted within 7 days, all officers whose job titles do not match with their current designations be re-designated.
She explained that the promotions and re-designations followed a meeting with representatives of the two unions last week November 8 where they agreed that all eligible be promoted and others be re-designated.
“We are happy that we have nurses and clinical officers who have reported to work. This is the second day from the governor’s order to implement the directives. I would be surprised if anyone will be on strike,” said Ms Kangogo.
Ms Kangogo assured city residents that normal operations are going on across all county health facilities and there should not be fears as they also have a contingency plan to ensure there is no lapse.
“Normal operations are going on in Pumwani, Mama Lucy, Mbagathi, Dandora, Westlands dispensary and other county health facilities. For those who have not, it is my request we resume duties because all issues that were of concern have been addressed,” she said.
She pointed out that the promotions cost the county Sh99 million out of the Sh130 million budget set aside for promotion of health workers.
The balance, said Ms Kangogo, will go towards the second phase of promotions that will target 600 officers not in the common cadre and can only be promoted through competitive filling as per the schemes of service, existence of a vacancy and a budget, and procedures given by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
“There are positions you cannot get promoted without going through a competitive process. For example the position of a director of medical services is a competitive position which must be advertised and filled competitively,” she said.
The acting Executive added that a lack of a fully constituted County Public Service Board made it difficult to implement four items contained in a return-to-work formula agreed with the unions in March following a nationwide strike.
The board was finally constituted in July but official handover was done last week who have embarked on harmonization of terms and conditions of county staff.
“We are aware that for a very long time employees of the county government have not been promoted but in the health sector we have a unique scenario with staff devolved from the national government, those from defunct city council transitioned to the new county government and those employed by the Public Service Board in 2013, all who have been working under different terms,” said Ms Kangogo.