, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Striking Doctors say they will not be cowed by the government’s declaration that while they are still open to talks, they would now pursue alternative means of delivering on the public right to healthcare even if that means recruiting from foreign nations.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Nairobi branch Secretary-General Thuranira Kaugiria has accused the government side of not being sincere in the negotiations.
He told Capital FM News that the meeting at Treasury on Friday took four minutes where they were just asked whether they accepted the deal or not.
“Yesterday we went to Treasury to continue with the talks and we met with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Cleopa Mailu. However, the discussions took exactly four minutes,” he said.
He stated that the Union officials were then asked to leave the room before the Government side led by Treasury Cabinet Secretary and his health counterpart Cleopa Mailu asked them to leave.
“All they asked as is whether we had accepted the deal presented to us or not and when we told them what our members had stated, they asked us to leave the room.”
He emphasised the doctors’ willingness to negotiate a work plan for the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013.
“We are not being rigid; all we want is a plan for the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013. And we will not be intimidated by the dictatorial tactics being employed,” he said.
“As we had indicated before, it is not a matter of increase or decrease of our salaries but the improvement of working conditions in hospitals.”
Mailu termed their move to reject the Mombasa State House offer as unfortunate, even after they were offered a 40 per cent consolidated increase on their salary.
On his part, Rotich described the Doctor’s decision as painful while affirming that a new CBA must be renegotiated, which would be implemented within 60 days after doctors resume work, since the current one cannot be implemented as drafted and still remains a matter before the Court of Appeal.
Rotich said that the matter requires broader stakeholder consultation involving County Governments, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the National Treasury.
Talks are set to resume on Monday with all stakeholders expected to be on the negotiating table.
In an earlier meeting chaired by President Kenyatta at State House Mombasa, it was agreed that at the entry level, doctors would fall under job group M up from L, and salaries raised to Sh196,000 from the current Sh140,244.