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Kenya

Jail for doctors’ union officials in 24hrs unless strike ends

The Employment and Labour Relations Court had given the seven union officials until Thursday to agree with the government and call off the strike which is in its second month/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 25 – The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists (KMPDU) Union officials have less than 24 hours to conclude negotiations with the government and end the medics strike or go to jail for a month.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has given the seven union officials until Thursday to agree with the government and call off the strike which is in its second month.

The officials rejected an offer presented to them by the Health Ministry that considered the 40 percent offer given by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the minimum requirement for doctors to resume work.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu told Capital FM News that they had “agreed on the deal but walked out later, complicating the situation even further.”

“As a ministry, we had acceded to most of their demands and it is unfortunate that they decided to walk out of the negotiations,” he stated while indicating that the doctors said they will be getting in touch on Friday.

According to Mailu, this was a negative attitude and stated the need for the doctors to soften their hard stance for the good of Kenyans.

He said that other demands accepted by the government included a new risk allowance of Sh10,000 and a 100 percent increment of call allowance from Sh30,000 to Sh66,000.

The CS further stated that that all doctors be elevated to a job group higher which would make their salary increment to about 70 percent.

He explained that the agreements were drafted in a refined Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which the doctors were expected to append their signature at 2pm but that never happened.

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Justice Hellen Wasilwa ordered the officials to return back to court on January 26 when she will review the progress made and confirm if the strike will have been called off as ordered.

She termed their mitigation as insensitive to the plight of Kenyans because they have failed to call off the strike over a month later, in total disregard of the court orders which was issued on December 1 declaring the industrial action illegal.

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