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Doctors, nurses go on strike on Monday

Doctors and nurses are set to go on strike countrywide from Monday, paralysing government health institutions.

On Saturday, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary-General Ouma Oluga told Sunday Nation he had not seen a court order temporarily stopping the strike.
The strike was called to push for implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“We have not seen or received such an order,” Dr Oluga said and maintained the stance despite the orders being published in yesterday’s dailies.
“The strike will proceed at 0000hrs Monday 5th December,” he said.

On Friday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court temporarily stopped the strike to allow the dispute to be heard on December 13.

Justice Nelson Abuodha issued the orders after the Council of Governors sued the Kenya National Union of Nurses (and KMPDU separately.

The court was told the nurses had issued a notice on October 10 of their intention to go on strike to demand the signing and approval of a CBA by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, counties and the national government.

Both unions have rejected a salaries commission report on job evaluation, saying it does not indicate what they should earn.

They also protested delays in the implementation of their separate pay deals.

Doctors are demanding a 300 per cent pay increase while nurses want between 25 to 40 per cent and allowances.

According to the SRC report, the highest paid doctor is set to earn Sh946,000 and the lowest Sh342,770.

In Kisii County, doctors and nurses were yesterday bracing for the strike.

DISCRIMINATORY DISCREPANCIES

Branch chairman Fredrick Oigo said there were three categories of salaries. “We have nurses absorbed into the county government from the local authorities, another group from the national government and a third employed by the new county government,” said Mr Oigo.

He said the three categories had different pay and allowances.

“In Job Group G, an employee from the national government is paid Sh2,500 house allowance compared to Sh17,000 for a colleague from the local authority. Such discrepancies are not only discriminatory but highly demoralising for staff,” he said.

The situation was the same in Narok County, with over 600 health workers vowing to down tools.

The strike will paralyse 150 health facilities in the county.

Doctors, public health officers and nurses who requested anonymity for fear of intimidation said they had been in the same job group since 2013 when health was devolved.

Narok Health Chief Officer Vivian Sereti Mpeti did not respond to calls and text messages.

In Nyamira, KMPDU Secretary-General Timothy Ombati said the strike can only be averted if the government honours the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement before tomorrow. 

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