Health workers in Machakos County are set to go on strike Monday 20th April 2020 over the delay in their March salaries and the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) at a time the country is battling the Coronavirus.
The Machakos Health workers have previously fulfilled their threat to go on strike. The health workers’ 2015 strike went on for three days before a back to work agreement was realized.
The new strike notice was communicated via a letter dated 16th April by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Lower Eastern Branch. According to the the letter the Health workers who include Doctors and Nurses have been working in difficult conditions without a salary.
“Doctors and other Health care workers in Machakos County have been working without a salary. This has made it difficult for them to find transport in order to report to work and also meet their daily needs including food and water.”
“This is in breach of an earlier agreement between the KMPDU and the county government of Machakos that ensured salaries were paid by the 5th of every month so that working is not interrupted.” The letter read.
KMPDU Lower Eastern Branch also noted that some politicians are donning the N95 masks meant for health workers while they have to use lower grade masks that are risky to them.
“These same doctors do not have adequate PPEs, therefore, risking their lives, the lives of Kenyans and that of their families when they go back home to them every day. In this regard, It is quite alarming and unfortunate to see politicians in parliament donned in N95 masks, while HCWs are forced to use lower grade surgical masks or no masks at all.” KMPDU added.
“Therefore, Until such a time that the county government of Machakos has paid their Salaries and has provided them with adequate PPEs, these doctors will continue to be a danger to themselves, their families and Kenyans at large. They should, therefore, keep off work effective Monday, 20th April, 2020.” The Union advised the workers.
The effects of the 2015 strike by Machakos health workers included an incident of a woman giving birth outside Machakos level 5 hospital. More recently, the county health workers in 2017 staged a demonstration and threatened to go on strike. The reasons given for the 2017 demonstrations were that the county government had failed to pay the health workers’ salaries for three months.
Machakos County Government this week sought a loan facility of 900 million to be approved by Machakos County Assembly so as to enable the County Government to borrow the money from a bank to pay March salaries to employees, COVID emergencies and health worker allowances.
According to article 212 of the constitution, a county may borrow only if the National Government guarantees the loan and with the approval of the County Assembly.
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