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Kenya's doctors vow not to change stand on pay

Health & Science
 Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) officials led by Chairman Samuel Oroko (2nd L) and Secretary General Dr.Ouma Oluga (C) addressing the media at Labour office, NSSF building, Nairobi on where they decline to go back to work and blamed the Government for not honored their CBA. Striking doctors are adamant that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) they signed is non-negotiable. (PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/ STANDARD)

Striking doctors are adamant that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) they signed is non-negotiable.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has maintained it position that there will be no more discussions around the disputed CBA unless they are towards its implementation.

The union's secretary general Ouma Oluga said doctors are willing to stretch the strike for as long as it would take them to have their demands met.

It is two weeks since the strike began on December 5, with dozens of people reported dead across the country as a result of the industrial action by health care givers.

"We cannot negotiate an already negotiated and signed CBA. We can only discuss implementation process and arrears," said the secretary general.

Oluga said there is nowhere on earth a Government signs a deal with doctors only to boast on how it is not able to implement.

"This is free advice to the Government: the more painful you make it for doctors, the higher the price you shall pay plus arrears. If you ask for better pay and work terms, you are criminal, when you steal you become a hero," he said.

According to the 27-page CBA seen by The Standard, doctors were supposed to start enjoying their hard fought salary increase of 300 per cent as from July 1, 2013.

Contrary to the Government's earlier stand that there was no CBA, Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has since confirmed the existence of the said CBA.

However, the article that was to effect their new pay demands was suspended.

"Implementation of this article remains suspended until such a time when the Salaries and Remuneration Commission(SRC) will have provided clear guidelines on setting of salaries of doctors in public service," reads Article IV of the CBA signed by then Health Permanent Secretary Mark Bor on June 27,2013.

According to the CBA, intern doctors as the lowest paid were set to earn Sh325, 000 from the currently proposed Sh180,000.

The highest paid doctor is set to earn Sh852,000 from the currently proposed Sh425,000.

Other demands contained in the CBA are a lounge in every doctor's room fully furnished with computer, television set, and internet access, call rooms adequately equipped with clean beds for rest, and that all doctors who work on gazetted public holidays will be granted paid days off equivalent to the number of holidays worked.

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