President William Ruto calls on leaders to work together and stop fighting, during the 59th Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

President William Ruto has called on doctors to end their strike and ensure the continuation of essential services.

Speaking during the 59th Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Ruto remarked that the government had addressed most of the demands by medics.

Doctors, represented by the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists Dentists Union (KMPDU), have been on strike for 48 days, seeking the implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2017.

"While the right to engage in industrial action is protected by the Constitution and labor laws, it should be exercised responsibly, with due regard to the wellbeing of the public,” said Ruto.

He urged all parties to act in good faith and prioritise the needs of citizens.

The president further stressed the need for fiscal responsibility, stating, "We must tighten our belts and live within our means as a country to allocate more resources to address economic challenges. It is neither just nor reasonable for any group to make demands contrary to this imperative or exceed our economic capacity."

Some of the demands by doctors include the posting of intern doctors and a monthly salary of Sh206,000, among others.

However, the government argues that it cannot afford the Sh12 billion needed to pay salaries for over 1,200 intern doctors.

KMPDU Secretary-General Davji Atella early in the week affirmed the union's commitment to the strike until the government honors the CBA.

"As a union, we insist on continuing the strike until the government is prepared to implement the CBA and assign interns as stipulated in the agreement. We are not ready to renegotiate salary payments or tolerate CBA violations," said Atella.

The strike by medics is now in its 48th day.

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