PUBLIC INTEREST

Doctors strike suspended in Nandi over coronavirus

The strike was to start on March 21 to press for implementation of the CBA.

In Summary

• The Union has deferred strike from March to April 22.

• Wants CBA  implanted, county says it has no money to do so now,

 

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and chief officer for health Paul Lagat in Kapsabet County Referral Hospital.
CANT AFFORD CBA YET: Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and chief officer for health Paul Lagat in Kapsabet County Referral Hospital.
Image: BARRY SALIL

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union has suspended a Nandi doctors' strike due to the coronavirus threat and the public interest.

The strike was to start on March 21 to press for implementation of the CBA.

It has been deferred to April 22. 

 

The union is seeking implementation of its 2014-18 CBA with Nandi county.

The doctors union is going to the Employment and Labour Relations Court for arbitration.

 

The CBA was registered in court by the two parties to make it binding, however, the union says it's yet to be implemented.

The union had issued the strike notice on February 20 and the strike was to start on March 21.

In a letter suspending the strike addressed to Governor Stephen Sang and copied to the county secretary Francis Sang, union North Rift secretary Dr Ismael Aiyabei said they were suspending the work stoppage on “public interest”.

“Cognizant that our members are on the frontline in this combat, we, therefore, in the public interest suspend the strike for 21 working days as the court process continues,” the notice says.

Courts have virtually been suspended, however, because of the virus.

Aiyabei said they were still asking the county government to implement the CBA to avert the strike, which could have far-reaching consequences.

The strike was called after a meeting between KMPDU and the county government aborted early in March.

They want promotion for doctors claiming their employer had refused to recognise specialists (consultants) and continues to pay salaries for medical officers.

The KMPDU went to the Labour Court seeking to compel the county to implement the registered CBA .

On Monday, Governor Sang recalled all health workers pursuing post-graduate and post-diploma courses to report back for duty.

They are expected to undergo training on the coronavirus and prepare them for imminent deployment across the country.

The county has about 80 doctors, including consultants and general medical officers.

Sang said his government has not refused to implement the promotions but financial constraints had caused delays.

In the 2020-2021 budget, the county proposed Sh30 million to implement the CBA.

The KMPDU asked wonders why it had taken too long for its implementation and pledged that only industrial action or judicial process can force the implementation.

(Edited by V. Graham)