Key services in various departments in Vihiga County are set to be paralysed starting midnight if staff make good on a threat to down tools over unpaid salaries.
In a notice issued on April 6, the employees stated that they have been experiencing salary delays from December 2019.
Some of the staff affected include the County nurses and clinical officers who are members of the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and Kenya Union of Clinical officers (KUCO) respectively.
“By a copy of this letter members of the unions above will down tools beginning the midnight of Tuesday, April 14, 2020, ” a letter addressed to the County Secretary and copied to Governor Wilber Otichilo reads.
“Moving forward members of these unions will down tools on the midnight of the 14th day of the subsequent months if salary will not have been paid.”
On Sunday the Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya indicated that plans are underway to have the staff receive their March salaries soonest.
The Kakamega Governor said he had met with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in Nairobi last week over the matter, after receiving complaints from the unions.
Oparanya said Yatani assured him that Treasury will release funds to Vihiga County for payment of workers’ salaries.
“I want to assure Vihiga staff that they will soon get their salaries. Treasury will soon release money meant for the county,” said Oparanya.
The strike comes at a time the country is grappling with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which poses a great threat to the Kenyan health system.
Medics handling the COVID-19 cases are said to have been overwhelmed and the government recently directed the counties to hire 5000 health workers to help in the fight against the disease in the country.
If the workers continue with the strike it will adversely affect the county’s preparedness to fight the contagious disease that is fast spreading to counties. At least 200 Kenyans have been infected with the virus with nine deaths confirmed within the last one month.