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Salary mishap rekindles nurses fight against devolution

07 February 2014, 17:41 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - Nurses have once again moved to the Industrial court to challenge the process of transferring health workers salaries.

Through the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN), they claim that the transfer process has led to the alleged salaries error due to lack of facilities for proper management system of human resource in county governments.

In the suit filed against the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), nurses claim that the transfer of health workers pay roll has resulted to untold suffering to affected health officers.

The nurses union also claimed that the transfer of the national government employees to county governments has resulted to the confusion and uncertainty already being witnessed in the industry.

“We do not oppose devolution; devolution has brought the dismantling of services hence the menace with salaries,” the Union’s Secretary General Seth Panyako said.

The nurses’ union insisted that the Industrial court is better placed to hear their case since the parties involved in the health devolution dispute concern employee and employer relation.

However, PSC argued that pay rolls are managed by government ministries and have already been transferred to county governments.

PSC said stopping the process would make the government incur heavy financial losses as it has already spent lots of money to roll out the devolution process.

Through State Counsel Schollar Mbilo, PSC wants the new suit dismissed on grounds that it touches on issues which have already been determined by court and are also part of the issues challenged in another ongoing case.

Ms Mbilo added that the government legalized the process of devolving health facilities to counties through a Kenya Gazette Notice.

Judges Weldon Korir, Roseline Korir and Mumbi Ngugi last year ruled that the devolution of health services was proper and should not be stopped.

However the Transition Authority, the Attorney General and the Council of Governors have been sued for operationalizing the distribution of health functions to counties though a legal notice contrary to schedule 4 of the constitution on the distribution of functions between the national government and county governments.

The alleged illegal legal notice purports the transfer of Level 2 to Level 5 health facilities that constitute the national referral health system from the national government to the county government.

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) also joined the petition seeking orders to suspend the legal notices on the devolution of health services.

Industrial Court judge Njagi said the matter is ‘greatly sizeable and is affecting many Kenyans’ and directed the Nurses’ Union to file further documents in readiness for a hearing today.

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