19 January 2017

Kenya: Medics Talks Continue As Doctors' Strike Enters 46th Day

Photo: Suleiman Mbatiah/Daily Nation
Patients remain stranded at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.

The doctors' strike entered its 46th day on Wednesday, on the second day of their talks with the Ministry of Health.

This is after the closed-door meetings in Nairobi between the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) officials and Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu that took about four hours, ending at around 2pm.

The discussions tackled Article Three of the nine in the disputed 2013 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which dwells on doctors' rights -- such as job groups, promotions, transfers, resignations, training and internship.

Talks on Article Four, on remuneration, which the doctors are awaiting with bated breath, are likely on Thursday. A deal would bring the strike to an end and send the more than 2,000 doctors engaging in the industrial action back to work.

NEGOTIATIONS ADJOURNED

The negotiations had to be adjourned as Dr Mailu was said to have been summoned to State House to give a "status update" on the talks.

The doctors were nonetheless "glad" that, finally, the government was addressing the CBA. The government had given them various offers, culminating in a 40 per cent pay rise offer by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa early this month.

The CBA was never a matter of discussion until Tuesday as the government refused to register or implement it, saying it was not within the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) guidelines.Meanwhile, a forum that senators Hassan Omar Hassan (Mombasa) and Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) announced on Sunday in a bid to bring the two parties to the table today was suspended, awaiting the outcome of the talks.

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