Machakos medics strike over tax dues

Health services at Machakos Level 5 Hospital were yesterday paralysed after more than 750 health workers went on strike.

The outpatient department and several wards remained closed as health workers protested the county government’s failure to remit their salary deductions.

Machakos County Nurses Union secretary Halima Aden told journalists at the hospital’s compound that their NHIF, NSFF, KRA and loan deductions go for three months to a year without being remitted despite being reflected on their payslips.

“I have two letters from the Finance chief executive indicating they have paid the deduction, but when our members go to the relevant financial institutions, they find  nothing has been paid,” she said.

Aden said the workers have been unable to pay their hospital bills and some are blacklisted by banks because their loan and NHIF deductions are not remitted.

She said the health workers have been engaging the County Finance Department since October last year but the issue remains unsolved.

Aden cited a county debt of Sh19 million to Afya Sacco.

She said PanAfric Insurance and Pioneer Insurance are also affected.

Aden said that the health workers will only go back to work if they get an assurance from the County Finance department that all the deductions are cleared.

“We offer essential services in the county but the constitution obliges the employer to engage with the issues raised and solve them amicably,” she said.

By the time of going to press, county officials in the Health department were held up in a meeting and could not be reached for a comment.