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Doctors inch closer to striking salary deal with State to end strike

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy GRAHAM KAJILWA | Thu,Jan 19 2017 00:00:00 EAT
By GRAHAM KAJILWA | Thu,Jan 19 2017 00:00:00 EAT

 Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu. (Photo: David Gichuru/Standard)

A deal may be reached between doctors and the Government as another meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 19.

According to sources privy to the discussions, the two parties are set to delve into the contentious Article Four of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that contains the new salaries.

Wednesday, the parties centred the discussions on Article Three of the CBA, which entails the doctors' rights.

And in the four-hour discussions - from 10am to 2pm - the parties are said to have cemented the common ground on the discussions.

After the meeting, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu was said to have gone to update President Uhuru Kenyatta on the progress.

However, there were no qualms on the Article as some of the demands stipulated by the doctors had already been handled in their latest deal that offered them 40 per cent.

Apart from the allowances offered in the deal of Sh10,000 as risk and an increase to Sh66,000 on call allowance from the current Sh30,000, it was agreed that doctors' work entry level (interns) would be at job group M instead of L.

The deal was offered by President Kenyatta last month when he summoned the doctors to State House in Mombasa.

It was also agreed that the medics be eligible for promotions after serving in the same position for three years, unlike normal civil servants who serve for at least five years and that a doctor shall not be transferred at the initiative of the ministry for more than once in a period of two years.

On the issue of research, also contained in the Article, the Government has already allocated Sh11 million.

Today's meeting is expected to be attended by Senate committees for Legal and Health Affairs and will be the determinant of whether the strike will be called off or not.

However, sources revealed that the high-level meeting with the two committees convened by Wiper senators Hassan Omar (Mombasa) and Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) had been postponed following the 'progressive talks'.

"As of now, we are waiting for the ongoing talks to see what the parties will come up with," said Senator Omar.

Article Four of the CBA was suspended awaiting the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to give its input on the doctors' salaries, which it has already done through the job evaluation report.

The contentious issue with the Article is that the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) is demanding a 150 to 180 salary increment that should be reflected on their basic pay.

But for this to be implemented, doctors have to be excluded from the category of civil servants.

And according to insiders, the Government has no issue with it.

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