Doctors in public hospitals sue government over salaries, allowances

Doctors in public health facilities have gone to court to compel the government to honour a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) giving them 300 per cent in pay and a raft of allowances

The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union has an application in the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking to compel the Ministry of Health to register the CBA officially in court.

Doing so would make the CBA, which was signed 27th June 2013, legally binding and enforceable.

During hearings on Monday before Justice Monica Mbaru, the lawyer from Attorney General's Office, who represent the state and that of Salaries and Remuneration Commission, were given 14 days to respond to the KMPPDU application, with hearing of the matter set for 29th of July.

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The lawyers representing the government and SRC had requested the judge to give them more time to prepare a response to the application.

Under the CBA, the lowest paid doctors in job group L would earn a monthly salary and allowances from between Sh325, 730 and Sh342, 770 up from between Sh127, 910 and Sh149,880. The highest paid doctors would earn between Sh852, 180 and Sh946, 000 per month in salary and allowances up from Sh328, 060 and Sh538, 980.

House allowance would rise to between Sh30, 000 and Sh120, 000 depending on the job groups up from between Sh20, 000 and Sh80, 000.

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Extraneous allowance was to range between Sh60,000 and Sh100,000 per month up from between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 while commuter allowance would have gone up to between Sh20,000 and Sh50,000 up from between Sh6,000 and Sh16,000.

Non-practicing allowance would have remained in the current levels of between Sh12, 000 to Sh60, 000 per month.

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The CBA provided that all doctors in public facilities shall work 40 hours per week. Any extra hours shall be compensated.

Through their lawyers, the doctor's union argues that on 27th of June 2013, the Principal Secretary of Health and officials of AG chambers signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with KMPPDU officials.

They argue that following the execution of the CBA, the Ministry has failed to register it in the Industrial Court to make it legally binding.

They said that it was the legal obligation of the Health Ministry to register the CBA at the Industrial Court under the various provisions of the Labour Relations Act.

The Principal Secretary of Labour is also being accused of failing or ignoring to file the CBA with the Industrial Court for registration citing a circular from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. SRC is also accused of failing to provide advice to the matter for the last two years as required by the Constitution.

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"The Respondents and the Interested Parties in collusion and/or individually have put in place a calculated unlawful scheme to permanently and/or indefinitely delay the registration of the CBA," reads the application.

"Failure to submit to the Employment and Labour Relations Court the Collective Bargain Agreement executed by the parties on the 27th of June 2013 is illegal and unlawful."

The doctors now want the Court to register the CBA and have it considered to have come into force from the agreed date of effectiveness being 1st July 2013

Health Principal Secretary Dr. Khadijah Kasachoon and Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai are listed as the first and second respondents respectively. Labour Ministry Principal Secretary and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission are listed as interested parties.

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ministry of healthhealth cabinet secretary james machariadoctors