Doctors push for salary increase over cost of living

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Secretary General Dr Davji Atellah (second right) with Bomet branch officials. [Courtesy Facebook]

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union has embarked on a process to push for salary increase for its members over the increasing cost of living.

Through its Secretary General Dr Davji Atellah, KMPDU said following a successful Kamkunji in Bomet County on July 27, 2023, the doctors had decided to initiate the move to cushion its members from current economic shocks.

“Today we gathered for a powerful Kamkunji with the dedicated doctors of Bomet! It was an enriching experience where we collectively addressed pertinent issues affecting our members. Underscoring the importance of unity and solidarity as a union, we are committed to standing together in the face of challenges,” Atella wrote on his Facebook page.

While applauding the Bomet branch for exceptional leadership and hard work, Atellah said during the Kamukinji it was evident that the pressing need for a salary increase took centre stage.

“As the cost of living continues to rise, it's imperative that we advocate for fair compensation for our hardworking healthcare professionals. We stand united in pursuing better wages and improved living standards for all our members,” said Atellah.

He said the Kamuknji sessions are just the beginning of many more to come as they eagerly look forward to fostering even stronger bonds and building a more connected community within the union.

In 2018, the doctors staged a three-month protest that left Kenyans suffering.

After nearly 100 days of the painful nationwide strike, the doctors finally agreed to resume duty after reaching an agreement with the Government.

The return-to-work formula was signed by the doctors’ union, then Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and then Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya, amid apologies to a suffering nation.

 Both parties, the Health ministry and governors on one end and the unionists on the other, were unanimous that such industrial action should never occur again, with Munya terming the situation as painful, especially for many Kenyans, whose only hope for medical care was in government facilities.

Then KPMDU Secretary-General Ouma Oluga insisted that the issue that forced doctors to down their tools was not mainly monetary but what he termed as a breakdown of dialogue.

"Issues of human relations in this country are very poor. We shall endeavour to improve dialogue when seeking attention," said the unionist, adding that the health sector needs reform.

And in October last year, the doctors announced they would stage another strike in early January 2023, if the government failed to fulfil agreements in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering the 2017-2021 period.

Atellah said the intent of notice would expire on December 28, 2022, after which a strike notice would be issued.

The Sec Gen said basic salary adjustments, creation of call rooms, posting of medical interns, employment of more doctors and provision of working tools are among the unmet grievances highlighted by KMPDU.

The strike was however suspended after the government agreed to review the 2017-2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Speaking during an interview on Spice FM, Atella said the government had agreed to post the first batch of 200 interns across the country next week and 200 more by March.

Davji added that the government had also agreed to paying salaries to the doctors by the 5th of every month.