Doctors’ union officials will know their fate on Friday, February 3, Labour Relations Court Judge, Hellen Waslilwa, has said – this coming as union officials presented themselves before the Milimani-based Court after the expiration of the January 30 negotiation deadline.

The Court had issued a 5-day extension to the effecting of a month-long jail sentence for Kenya Medical and Practioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) bosses, allowing for talks between the court and the government.

This came following the expiration of a previous two-week suspension – on where the two sides failed to come to an amicable solution.

Addressing the court Monday, doctors asked the court to allow them to make an application for the suspension of the jail term, saying that return-to-work talks would grind to halt their officials were jailed.

On their part, the Council of Governors asked the court to ignore the doctors’ petition, arguing that union officials were in contempt of court as they failed to implement a court order compelling them to call off the strike.

Should the court decline the doctors’ application come Friday, union officials could land behind bars.

Doctors have vowed to support their union officials in the event that they are jailed by the Labour Court, saying that they would take their protests to the footsteps of Parliament Building.

Doctors downed their tools on December 5 2016, demanding the implementation of the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that they had struck with the government.

The two sides have, however, failed to come to a consensus over the implementation of the document, with the government stating that they cannot implement the 300% pay rise agreed upon in the CBA.

The government offered an alternative return-to-work formula, insisting that the 2013 CBA is not implementable.

In an interview with Citizen TV’s Cheche on January 25, Finance CS Henry Rotich stated that the government can only afford a 40% increment for doctors.

Health CS Cleopha Mailu accused doctors of grand standing, saying that doctors have refused to make concessions in the negotiations.

“We have negotiated with the union, but the union has stuck to its guns: it’s either the CBA or nothing else…We have seen offers being made by government – generous offers – all which the union has refused,” Mailu said on Sunday.

The pull and tug between the government and doctors’ union has disrupted healthcare in public hospitals, with wananchi asking both sides to expedite negotiations.

The strike has now entered its 58th day.

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