• May 27, 2024
  • Last Update May 26, 2024 7:22 PM
  • Nairobi

Doctors, government ordered to sign return to work formula

Health

By Peter Ochieng

Striking doctors and the government have until Monday next week to sign a return to work formula.
Doctors have been on strike since 14th March, 2024, with no end in sight for the industrial action that has since ropped in other healthcare workers, including the clinical officers.


On Thursday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court declined to order the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials to call off the ongoing strike, before signing a return to work formula.


The government was pushing for doctors to go back to work, minus the signing of a return to work formula.


However, Justice Byram Ongaya directed the two parties to set aside the issue of remuneration for intern doctors, saying the case is already before an Eldoret court.


Posting and remuneration of intern doctors has proved a major borne of contention between the government and the doctors.

KMPDU wants intern doctors paid Sh206,000 per month, while the government says it can only afford Sh70,000.


Meanwhile, officials of the Council of Governors (CoG) on Thursday appeared before a joint Parliamentary health committee, alongside officials of KMPDU, Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) and the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Officers (KNUMLO).


Counsel James Ochieng representing the government accused KMPDU of disowning a document drafted during the negotiations, that was to be adopted as a return to work formula.


While countering the allegations, KMPDU lawyer Edgar Washika argued that the document was just a draft that was to be subjected to ratification, by the union’s National Executive Council (NEC).


He said the document did not see the light of the day, after it was shot down by NEC members.


KMPDU Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah interjected: “Some parts of the document were not agreeable to the union, particularly on the issue of employment of doctors. When you say we will employ more doctors or we will endeavour to employ, it becomes a blank statement that mirrors the agreement we had last year where the counties promised to employ doctors… so the union was of the opinion that there should be a particular number of doctors and in case they need funds they will get it from the national government and timelines for that engagement.”


Tharaka Nithi governor Muthomi Njuki, chairman of the health committee in COG wants the medics to resume their duties, stating that governors have already committed to employing more doctors.


“KMPDU is telling us we need to employ more doctors before they go back to work…if the counties have already agreed to employ more doctors, what kind of action do they want before they go back to work?” wondered governor Muthomi Njuki.

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