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Medics to begin strike after CoG rejects deal

Health & Science - By Anyango Otieno | January 8th 2021 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers Chairman Peterson Wachira and Kenya Clinical Officers Association Secretary General Joseph Chebii address the media in Nairobi, yesterday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Clinical officers will down their tools today after governors failed to implement the return-to-work formula they signed with the Ministry of Health last week.

Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya rejected the deal that ended the strike by clinical officers that had paralysed health services in the country for 26 days in December, 2020.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (Kuco) Secretary General George Gibore, who issued the strike notice, accused Oparanya of being “insincere and unrealistic”.

Gibore said clinical officers were going on strike because of lack of goodwill and commitment from CoG.

“Following this, the union has held its Advisory Council meeting and resolved that all its members abstain from duty until their employers (the county governments) through the Council of Governors sign the return-to-work formula agreed upon by the parties on January 1,” he said.

He added: “Union members plan to have nationwide peaceful demonstrations in protest to the CoG’s move to deliberately discriminate and frustrate clinical officers starting January 11.”

On January 5, Kuco gave CoG 48 hours to consent to the return-to-work formula signed by the union and the Ministry of Health on January 1.

The union also wrote to the CoG on January 6 requesting for an urgent meeting with Oparanya with a view to resolve the impasse, but they are yet to get a response.

“This is a clear demonstration on the lack of goodwill and commitment from the devolved governments through their council to resolve this stalemate so as to restore normalcy and sanity in the health service provision more so during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Gibore.

Among the issues the governors are contesting include the doctors’ risk allowance, which Kuco said require a minimum increment of between 500 per cent and 650 per cent for low cadres.

The others are enhanced comprehensive group life cover and the conversion of contracts to permanent and pensionable terms, which the governors said require huge resources that have not been factored in the budget.

Kuco Chairman Peterson Wachira maintained that they will not accept anything less than what they agreed to.

“It is unprecedented. We will act accordingly if they fail to comply,” he said.

He described the governors as “hostile employers” who cared less about their welfare despite the huge sacrifices they were making.

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