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Uhuru warns striking doctors of serious consequences if deal not reached

By For Citizen Digital

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, March 7 termed demands by doctors as blackmail saying that what the medics are demanding in their 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement is too high and cannot be achieved overnight.

“Doctors have our respect, but we also need to clarify about the consequences of their strike,” said President Kenyatta.

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Speaking during the Fourth Devolution Conference in Naivasha, the Head of State further warned the striking medics of consequences should the ongoing mediation process fail.

“If this round they are engaged with religious leaders fail, we will be in a bit of a problem with them,” warned Kenyatta. “This is blackmail and we are not going to entertain it.”

While terming the doctors as dealing an unfair hand, Kenyatta reiterated the government’s commitment to a fair resolution to the doctors and also to the Kenyans who pay.

“It is clear to me that the doctors grievances will never be resolved t by creating new grievances of their own. Two wrongs have never made a right,” lamented the President. “There is no fairness in that.”

Kenyatta, however, called on doctors to be fair and compassionate insisting that the government’s offer was the best adding that what they were demanding would only be achieved fully over time.

“An intern doctor is currently being paid more money than a medical practitioner working in the private sector.”

Kenyatta, who admitted to numerous challenges facing devolved healthcare, sought to remind the striking medics that theirs is a calling to serve all with an even higher duty to preserve life.

As the strike entered its 93rd Tuesday, March 7, the government’s offer remains at a 40 per cent pay increment with an agreement to raise the entry level grade for the public service for doctors to Job Group “M” from Job Group “L”, a grade it terms as higher than the normal entry level for other public servants and recognises doctors’ professional training.

The government has also offered to raise the Enhanced Emergency Call allowance to Ksh 66,000 from the current Ksh 30,000 for Job Group L; Ksh 72,000 from Ksh 30,000 for Job Groups M-P; and Ksh 80,000 from Ksh 30,000 for Job Groups Q and above.

A new Doctors’ risk allowance was on offer at a flat rate of Ksh 10,000 per month.

“The sum total of the government’s offer means that the minimum gross salary for doctors will increase to Ksh 196,989 from the current Ksh 140,244 at full implementation at the current entry Job Group L,” read the government’s statement in part.

“The total impact of the government offer on the exchequer will be an additional expenditure of Ksh4 billion annually – shared among the nation’s 5,000 doctors.”

The doctors have also remained adamant, demanding the full implementation of the CBA signed in 2013.

If implemented, the 2013 CBA would see the lowest paid doctor earn a salary of over Ksh 300,000 and the highest paid would earn slightly under Ksh 1 million per month.

Kenyatta’s warning comes even as the clergy mediating the talks led by Jackson Ole Sapit and Aden Wachu say only signing of amended CBA, Recognition Agreement and Return to Work formula is pending for doctors to end their 93 day strike and resume duty.

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