, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 5 – A nationwide strike by doctors and nurses have kicked-off, paralysing operations at several public hospitals.
This comes after a meeting between the Kenya National Union of Nurses and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists Union officials and Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to discuss the signing of the contentious collective bargaining agreement on Sunday flopped.
Doctors under Kenya National Union of Nurses and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists Union want a 300 per cent salary increment as stipulated in the CBA signed in 2013.
This will see the lowest paid doctor pocket Sh342,000 and the highest pocket slightly over Sh940,000 away from the current remuneration of Sh500,000 for the highest paid and Sh40,000 for the lowest paid.
The CBA was however suspended, with the Employment and Labour Relations Court issued a ruling on October 6th, 2016, directing that the two parties sit and produce a negotiated CBA within 90 days.
The Ministry of Health, National Treasury, Council of Governors and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had a day-long meeting yesterday, in which the Treasury said the salary package can implement but over time.
The doctors and nurse unions had issued a 21-days strike notice, which elapsed Sunday midnight.
The SRC recently released a report of a 17-month job evaluation exercise affecting civil servants and state officers, which includes all medics.
Both unions have rejected a salaries commission report on job evaluation, saying it does not indicate what they should earn.
Mailu has however asked the medics to go back to work, saying the strike notice given by doctors is premature and pre-emptive, since the 90-days negotiation period accorded by the Court has not yet lapsed.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court had on Friday temporarily stopped the strike to allow the dispute to be heard on December 13.
Justice Nelson Abuodha issued the orders after the Council of Governors sued the two unions.
The court was told the nurses had issued a notice on October 10 of their intention to go on strike to demand the signing and approval of a CBA by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, counties and the national government.