D-day for doctors’ union as 5-day grace period elapses


Doctors marching

Doctors’ union bosses have this morning presented themselves before the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Milimani, Nairobi after failing to beat the Monday 30 deadline given by Employment and Labour Relations Court.

Justice Waslilwa had issued a 5-day extension to the effecting of a month-long jail sentence for Kenya Medical and Practioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) bosses, after the previous two-week suspension – issued to allow to talks between the union and the government – elapsed.

Doctors’ union officials have now asked the court to allow them to make an application for the suspension of the jail term – an application that the Governors have asked the court to ignore, saying that the KMPDU officials are in contempt of court.

Should the court decline the doctors’ application, union officials could land behind bars. Doctors have vowed to support their union officials in the event that they are jailed by the Labour Court, saying that they would take their protests to the footsteps of Parliament Building.

Doctors downed their tools on December 5 2016, demanding the implementation of the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that they had struck with the government.

The two sides have, however, failed to come to a consensus over the implementation of the document, with the government stating that they cannot implement the 300% pay rise agreed upon in the CBA.

The government offered an alternative return-to –work formula, insisting that the 2013 CBA is not implementable.

In an interview with Citizen TV’s Cheche on January 25, Finance CS Henry Rotich stated that the government can only afford a 40% increment for doctors.

Health CS Cleopha Mailu accused doctors of grand standing, saying that doctors have refused to make concessions in the negotiations.

“We have negotiated with the union, but the union has stuck to its guns: it’s either the CBA or nothing else…We have seen offers being made by government – generous offers – all which the union has refused,” Mailu said on Sunday.

The pull and tug between the government and doctors’ union has disrupted healthcare in public hospitals, with wananchi asking both sides to expedite negotiations.

The strike has now entered its 58th  day.

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Joy Chelagat
Story By Joy Chelagat
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