The National Treasury photo:courtesy
The doctors’ union and the Council of Governors asked the Treasury to stop frustrating salary payment through frequent delays.
They also urged nurses to resume negotiations.
While signing the much-anticipated recognition agreement and collective bargaining agreement (CBA), both the doctors and the governors were in agreement that if all institutions, including Parliament, played their role as required by the Constitution, the frequent strikes in the health sector would become a thing of the past.
Further, the chairman of the governors’ council, Josephat Nanok, told the striking nurses to come back to the negotiating table, saying only dialogue would end the strike.
“I want the union to understand the challenges we face in budgeting. You all witnessed the tensions between the National Assembly and the Senate when there were disagreements on the budget for the counties.
“You can even see that the allowances awarded in December 2016 are not budgeted for simply because of the processes involved. These are some of the challenges county governments face in ensuring there are funds to pay doctors and other staff and also development project,” said Mr Nanok.
Both Nanok and Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma urged the nurses to embrace dialogue, arguing that because the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has raised an objection, there is no way the CBA can be agreed upon.
“I want to call on the nurses to come to the negotiating table. There is room for negotiations, just like your colleagues have done,” said Ranguma, who is also the chairman health committee of the Council of Governors.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Board secretary-general, Dr Ouma Oluga, said there was a need for all players, including the national government, to ensure that funds are disbursed on time. His sentiments were echoed by the doctors’ union leaders.
“Sometimes doctors, nurses, and even lab technicians go on strike because of delayed salaries, which Treasury fails to release. But if each major partner, including Parliament, played its role well, we would reduce the number of strikes in the health sector.
“The tension between Treasury and the county government must come to an end,” said Oluga.
KPMDU chairman Samuel Orogo offered to negotiate on behalf of the nurses to end their strike.
Doctors upbeat of ‘smooth’ deal execution
At the ceremony, doctors finally signed both the much-anticipated recognition and the collective bargaining agreements with each of the 47 counties, paving the way for better terms and conditions of service.
The CBA, which is effective from July 1 this year for a period of four years, will be registered in the Employment and Labour Court, putting to rest the memories of the more than 100 days of strike that saw the union leaders sent to jail.
The recognition agreement paves the way for a legal framework that will allow doctors working in the counties to engage with their respective public service boards over pay, allowances, and working conditions.
In the CBA, doctors under job group M will enjoy basic salary as outlined in the agreement signed between KPMDU and Health CS Cleopa Mailu last week.
In the new grading structure provided by SRC, job group M now falls under Grade C4, where new basic pay for a doctor is Sh54,532.
However, it is the allowances payable at this grade that ensure that doctors’ welfare and working conditions are taken into account.
Doctors in job group M working in the former municipalities of Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Thika, Kisii, Malindi, and Kitale will now take home a house allowance of Sh22,000 up from Sh15,000.
The CBA also sets out the course of action for both doctors and employers should they be declared redundant.