Government in talks with doctors union to forestall looming strike
The government is actively seeking to forestall a planned strike by doctors in the country from December 28, 2022. This is after the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) declared a 30-day strike notice of the industrial action on November 28.
According to KMPDU, the industrial action is a result of the government’s failure to honour a July 2017 collective bargaining agreement.
Some of the unmet demands highlighted by the KMPDU include basic salary adjustments, the creation of call rooms, the posting of medical interns, the employment of more doctors and the provision of working tools.
After receiving the strike notice, the Ministry of Labour advised the medics to consider giving room for negotiations, with the Commissioner for Labour, asking the Cabinet Secretary for Florence Bore to intervene.
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The letter was copied to Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha and all 47 county governments.
“After a careful review of the [KMPDU] letter, it has been noted the intended withdrawal of labour is being contemplated by members who are involved in the provision of service of an essential nature and it is, therefore, in the public interest for the Cabinet Secretary [for Labour Florence Bore] to urgently intervene to avert the union’s threatened strike.”
Labour Commissioner further stated that “Towards this end, and under Section 70(1) of the Labour Relations Act 2007, Kisurulia Kuloba, the Chief Industrial Relations Officer, has been appointed to act as the conciliator in the apprehended dispute. All parties are requested to submit written memorandum in respect to the disputed issues and cooperate with the conciliator in his efforts to resolve it.”
KMPDU Secretary-General Dr Davji Bhimji Atellah had previously said that the stakeholders involved in the signing of the 2017-2021 CBA had failed to implement the issues that they had raised.
Davji added that despite the increased number of medical training facilities in the country, the number of graduate doctors being absorbed by the government remained low. He said that while some doctors had retired or resigned, they were yet to be replaced.
Davji also asked the national government to increase its budgetary allocation to the Health sector to create a peaceful working relationship between healthcare workers and counties.