Kenya: Mombasa Doctors Ready for Strike Over Pay, Promotions

25 September 2020

Doctors in Mombasa County say they will down their tools at 8am Monday for reasons including perennial salary delays and non-remittance of statutory deductions.

Dr Abidan Mwachi, Coast Secretary of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU), who announced the decision on Friday, accused Governor Hassan Joho's administration of frustrating health workers.

"As with any employee with a loan, our employer, the county, has been deducting amounts but not remitting them to our banks. Most of our members have had to stay without money as their banks have taken part of their net salaries," Dr Mwachi said.

"When the payments are due, sometimes you get demand letters from the banks."

He added that defaults in payments have seen the medics blacklisted by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).

The union representative also said the doctors risk working without comprehensive medical covers and that many have been forced to pay from their pockets to access the services they offer to the public.

Lasting solution

The union says salary delays have persisted since 2013 so a lasting solution is needed.

"We stayed three months without since May 2013. The payments were eventually made but we have endured the same thing all these years. Nothing seems to change," said Coast Deputy Secretary Dr Niko Gichana.

"We had to go to the Labour court because we had an agreement but there was still no change."

The doctors further said they get their payslips early but have to wait for at least a month for their salaries to be deposited into their accounts.

"We got our July Salary on August 25. We would like the salary delays issue resolved once and for all. If not, we will interrupt services so dear to mwananchi," Dr Mwachi said.

Other issues of concern to the doctors include promotion and re-designation and non-remittance of statutory deductions for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

The doctors want the county to explain what happens to the money after it is taken from them.

"There seems to be a big issue at the Finance department in Mombasa, which must be checked," Dr Mwachi stated

"Non-issue"

However, Mombasa Country Secretary Dennis Lewa termed the doctors' planned strike a non-issue as they walked out of a recent conciliation meeting.

"Union leaders walked out of the NSSF building. It is illegal for them to strike. It is irregular for them to give a notice," he said.

Mr Lewa further said the county will reconcile the statutory deductions in October.

"We cannot effect anything without the HR Committee. This is a county issue. The branch secretary should address this, not the national KMPDU office. The doctors are ill-advised," he said.

"It is very unfortunate that they walked out of a conciliation meeting."

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