The government has been issued with a 16-day ultimatum to complete negotiations on the doctors’ Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) said this was the last chance for the Ministry of Health to complete the talks and have the CBA registered in court in accordance with the Return to Work Formula that was signed on March 14.
According to the Return to Work Formula that ended the 100-day strike, the doctors union, the Council of Governors and the Ministry were to come up with a CBA and have it registered in court within 60 days. The deadline lapsed on May 14. However, yesterday KMPDU officials said the talks had been ‘painfully slow.’
This has seen them sign two extensions to the set time lines — one on May 11 which is expiring today, prompting another extension signed on Friday to stretch it further for 16 days ending June 14.
“We cannot be discussing the same document that we gave them three months ago and one which they have been aware of for the last seven years,” said KMPDU Chair Dr Samuel Oroko.
He added: “We have given them the last chance. When it is done, there will be no more extension. We will go back to the doctors to seek further direction.”
The union officials expressed their disappointment, saying negotiators in the government’s team have been skipping meetings. The doctors further accused the Ministry of frustrating intern doctors. KMPDU Secretary General Dr Ouma Oluga said there are close to 1,400 doctors who have not been employed and have been frustrated by the counties and the Ministry’s Department of Human Resource.
He said the Ministry had failed to account for Sh2.7 billion that should have been paid to intern doctors, besides failing to pay tuition fees for doctors taking Masters degrees at the University of Nairobi and Moi University.