Gov't extends olive branch to striking doctors as strike enters third week

Gov't extends olive branch to striking doctors as strike enters third week

Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei speaks when he officially opened the 27th Annual National Human Resource Management Conference on October 24, 2023. PHOTO | PCS

The government has urged an end to the ongoing countrywide strike by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU), committing to address the smattering of issues raised by the striking healthcare workers. 

In a statement by State House Chief of Staff and Head of the Public Service Felix Koskei on Tuesday, the government extended an olive branch to the health workers, saying it would post all the eligible medical student interns, inviting those eligible to pick letters from Thursday. 

Regarding the demands by the medics to have the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) implemented, Koskei said accrued Basic Salary Arrears would be paid in full and Ksh.2.4 billion had already been disbursed to cater for the interns’ deployment and posting.

“In that regard, all eligible medical student interns are urged to collect their posting letters from the Ministry of Health's offices with effect from Thursday, April 4, 2024,” read a section of the notice.

“Secured the requisite budgetary support in the amount of Ksh. 2.4 billion to facilitate the immediate deployment and posting of the 2023/24 cohort of medical student interns per the guidelines issued by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).”

The State House Chief of Staff further noted that eligible medical workers would also receive grants and scholarships for their postgraduate education, as demanded by KMPDU.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to have a ‘constructive’ dialogue with health workers to end the current crisis in the sector both at the county and national level.

“The government at both tiers, state agencies, and institutional stakeholders support the efforts to resolve the current dispute and bring about a permanent end to the cycle of industrial action in the Health Sector remain committed to fostering constructive dialogue, addressing concerns, and ensuring the health and well-being of all Kenyans,” he stated.

“As part of its mandate, the Whole of the Nation Approach Committee has isolated the nineteen issues raised in the Notice of Industrial Action and thereafter classified and prioritized each issue, further assigning responsibility to each tier of Government.”

The head of the public service also says that counties will address the nine issues in due time.

KMPDU downed their tools more than three weeks ago after talks with Health Cabinet Secretary Wafula Nakhumicha hit a snag.

CS Nakhumicha has also previously threatened to sack medics on strike, saying in a television interview on March 20: “They have been ordered by the court to suspend the strike; choices have consequences.”

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Despite numerous threats from the Council of Governors, the ministry, and the union, they remained unmoved, vowing not to resume work until their demands were honoured.


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