Was the Kenyan nurses’ strike linked to general elections? While everyone saw that it would not be long before the strike was resolved, little did anyone imagine it would drag past the general election day, but it did. Seemingly the public had become increasingly disenchanted with strikes. Various interested parties observed that after the general election there was need to face the reality, need for a strategic retreat, may be call off the strike and re-strategize.
Striking nurses match to the Council of Governors offices demanding the implementation of the CBA on June 12, 2017. Photo/Jack Owuor [http://www.the-star.co.ke/sites/default/files/styles/new_full_content/public/1578514_3.jpg?itok=K_bCnBH4]
May be the timing was not that good after all as some came to realize but then the acting SG Mr Opetu had to somehow come to terms with the circumstances, ‘governors focused on the voter not us, blame them for the strike not us’, he admitted to one of the dailies and as released to nursesarena.com on 6th August 2017. ‘They turned up at the negotiating table without a meaningful agenda’, he added. But then CoG chair of Health Committee put it as it was when he said, ‘we had other engagements that we needed to attend to’. If indeed this was so, was KNUN expecting too much on their part to surmount the intricacies of negotiating with transitioning parties? Related article http://www.compleathealthsystems.com/uncategorized/nurses-strike-general-elections-intertwined/
Various trade unions representatives (including KNUN) had in their wisdom endorsed their preference for particular candidates in the election divide. It was unfortunate that this could happen, infact holding trade unions’ leaders at ransom by political players instead of encouraging competitive bargaining was morally wrong. Sources indicated that it was to this extent the government read ‘sinister’ motives in the strikes. It perceived the strikes to be part of the wider conspiracy to paralyze major sectors – education, health etc. or rather machinations to sabotage and discredit the government with the hope that citizens would get disillusioned and resort to mass action, a revolution sort of. Whether these reservations were unfounded or not, it remained that a good number of trade union leaders were singing the songs of the politicians http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/08/04/seven-trade-unions-abandon-failed-jubilee-sign-deal-to-back-raila_c1610627 .