Striking Kenyan health workers back to work

At least 40,000 workers end strike after government agreed to some demands, averting potential health care crisis.

    Health workers began the strike on March 1 to protest the government's failure to increase their pay [Reuters]

    Nearly 40,000 striking Kenyan health workers have resumed work in public hospitals after the government met some of their demands and promised to look into others, officials said.

    Alex Orina, a spokesman for the Kenya Health Professionals Society, said on Friday the government also rescinded the decision to fire 25,000 health workers who refused a return-to-work order last week.

    He said health workers' extraneous allowances would be increased by 100 per cent following the agreement reached with the government.

    Orina added that a task force was formed to come up with a plan on how to increase other allowances and employ additional staff to reduce a shortfall of 30,000 health workers.

    There was no immediate comment from the government or the health ministry.

    The strike, which started March 1, paralysed operations in all of Kenya's public hospitals, with nurses protesting against the government's failure to implement a salary increase agreed last year.

    They also stopped work to press for improved services in the country's mostly ill-equipped public hospitals.

    The government reacted by threatening to fire 25,000 workers in what was a potentially devastating crisis for the health sector.

    Anyang Nyong'o, the minister for medical services, said the workers would be required to re-apply if they were to be considered for rehiring.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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