NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Doctors dug in their heels further on Thursday in the ongoing strike after consultants from the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) joined in the industrial action which began on Monday.
Addressing reporters at KNH, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary General Ouma Oluga emphasized that they will accept nothing less than the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013.
“We want to make it very clear that this strike shall only be called off by the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The doctors in this country have been taken on a goose chase for so long,” he stated.
He rubbished return to work formulas being fronted by the government in a bid to coax the health workers back to work.
“Let the government table talks on how they will implement the CBA in broad daylight and in the full glare of the media. We are not any more interested in return to work formulas that are being drafted by one side,” he said.
He recalled that the union has engaged the government for more than three years to implement the CBA but the efforts have born no fruits so far.
“The strike will be called off by the implementation of CBA. Let the government come clear on how to implement the CBA we are not interested on a return to work Formula,” he said.
While apologizing to Kenyans who have been affected by the strike, the Union’s chairman Samuel Oroko stated that the blame is squarely on the government for not being sensitive with their demands.
“It is a big shame that the doctors can issue a strike notice of 21 days and the government keeps quiet only to waits and see hospitals being closed,” he stated.
He stated that everything in the CBA has not been implemented and stressed that doctors will not back down from their demands.
Doctors’ union officials abandoned the talks at Afya House on Wednesday, insisting on a 300 per cent increase as outlined in a Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013.
The medics pulled out of the talks after rejecting the government offer of a Sh50,000 increase for the lowest paid doctor.
The offer raised the salary for the lowest paid doctor to 176,000 shillings far below the 325,000 that the doctors expect and which was contained in the collective bargaining agreement.
The Labour relations Court ordered the Kilimani OCS to serve officials of Nurses and Doctors union with a court order issued last week suspending the ongoing strike.