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Nurses’ strike is off, Panyako tells court



The Kenya National Union of Nurses has called off the nurses strike that has paralyzed operations countrywide for the better part of the month.

Union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako told a labor court on Tuesday morning that  the countrywide nurses’ strike has been called off.

The outspoken union leader had been summoned to court to show cause why he should not committed to jail for contempt, for disobeying orders stopping the strike.

Panyako, in his defense, told the court Justice Nelson Abuodha that he had not been served with court papers requiring him to have the industrial action stopped, adding that the strike had been called off.

The judge cautioned him not to disobey court orders in future.

With the explanation by the union boss the that the strike was now off thereby complying with the court order, justice Abuodha discharged all KNUN officials from the contempt.

But speaking to the press after the court appearance, Panyako said that he was not the one who called off the strike.

He said that a lot of misinformation was given to the judge during the hearing.

He maintained defiance, saying the union will only negotiate with their employers and not anyone else.

“The issue of conciliation is very tricky. We want to talk with the council of governors who are our employers,” Panyako said.

“The employer must come back into the court and declare that the strike is ongoing and declare it illegal. We will not backtrack on the issue of the return to work formula..the government must respect it,” he added.

Panyako insisted that they have only suspended the strike to pave way for the ongoing reconciliation with governors but have not called it off altogether.

He warned that no one is above the law in Kenya. “Even the president is not above the law. You cannot wake up and fire the employees,” said Panyako.

On February 13, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered all nurses to return to work or face dismissal by the county government and the Health ministry.

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