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Press statement after Council of Governors consultative meeting, 31st August, 2017

New PressMembers of the Press,
Citizens of Kenya,

The Council of Governors today held a consultative meeting to discuss the Nurses Strike, Transitional Challenges across 47 County Governments and the Induction of Governors and Deputy Governor’s.
First, allow me to congratulate Hon. Kennneth Lusaka for being elected the Speaker of the Senate. As a Council, we look forward to a collaborative engagement with the Senate in the next five years.

Nurses Strike:
Invited in the meeting were Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu; Public Service Commission Chairperson Prof. Margaret Kobia; Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chief Executive Ms Anne Gitau; Chairpersons of the County Public Service Boards; and representatives of the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.
• The Council of Governors has made various efforts to resolve the current stalemate on the nurses’ strike. However, we all are cognizant of the fact that there are financial implications in meeting the demands of the nurses; some of which cannot be met due to budgetary constraints. The SRC has in various occasions advised on the monetary issues of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
• From the consultations amongst County Governments and the SRC, the CBA as demanded by nurses cannot be implemented in its current form.
• As a matter of fact, the nurses’ strike is illegal. It is notable that the nurses went on strike while the negotiations on their CBA were taking place. This was an act of bad faith.
• From the above, this is the position of the Council:
1. The Council hereby puts all the striking nurses on notice to return to work by 8th September, 2017.
2. For those who will have returned to work:

  • There will be no victimization of the nurses who participated in the strike;
  • Counties will withdraw all show cause letters issued before this date;
  • Counties will pay all unpaid salaries;
  • There will be a joint appeal to SRC for a Job Re-evaluation.
  • The negotiations for the CBA will proceed and finalized.

3. All nurses who will not have returned to work by the above stipulated date will stand sacked.
4. Thereafter, the Counties will advertise the positions of the nurses.
5. Counties will then hire nurses on a contract basis. This is happening in some Counties and the same practice will be adopted by all the forty-seven (47) Counties.
6. The COG has approved that a generic advert be generated by the secretariat of the Council on behalf of all the Counties.
7. In this event, interested candidates will make applications to the specific Counties where they would like to work in.
8. Payment of salaries to the striking nurses will be stopped immediately.
• Despite the industrial actions that have been witnessed in the health sector, we reiterate that County health services will remain a County function.
Human Resource in the Counties:
• As you are aware, recently there have been massive lay-offs in the Counties. It is important to understand that there have been emerging human resource issues that the new Governors find themselves in:
1. There are instances where State Officers and/or public officers whose term is defined in law received contracts that were beyond this defined term. To illustrate, there are cases where County Secretaries were put on permanent and pensionable terms.
2. In certain Counties, there were public officers who initially were recruited on contractual basis, but just before the elections, they were quickly placed on permanent and pensionable terms.
3. Additionally, there are instances where new Governors are faced with a bloated workforce, and this will be financially untenable in the long run.
• We understand that there has been anxiety in the public arena on this issues but all the nascent transitional challenges are being handled on a case to case basis. The Governors are not acting in malice. They are only keen on ensuring that County Governments recruit and retain competent and skilled staff for effective service delivery.

• The Council has agreed as follows: That the due process of the law will be followed in discharging CECs and Chief officers.

H.E. Josphat Nanok
Chairman, Council of Governors

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