UoN warns tutors, students taking part in doctors strike

Doctors outside the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi on January 12. They chanted slogans to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions /REUTERS
Doctors outside the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi on January 12. They chanted slogans to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions /REUTERS

The University of Nairobi has threatened to discipline lecturers and post-graduate medical students who have abandoned classes to join the doctors’ strike.

College of health sciences dean Prof Fred Were yesterday said clinical studies have been disrupted since the strike began 45 days ago.

“I want to remind you your clinical duties are part and parcel of your academic work,” he said in a circular.

Were urged the heads of all departments to ensure academic programmes are not disrupted.

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Nairobi secretary general Thuranira Kaugira said doctors affiliated to UoN joined the strike because they are also members of the union.

Doctors taking post-graduate studies usually work at the Kenyatta National Hospital, but they walked out last month, halting some operations at the college of health sciences.

Clinical duties include admitting patients and following up on them as the primary care provider.

The university is likely to confront serious legal and ethical challenges when the strike is eventually called off.

KMPDU had earlier warned that studies in all of Kenya’s nine medical schools could be halted by January 10 if the government did not implement the July 2013 CBA.

“If there was really any need for an additional reason to end the strike, this is another one of them,” KMPDU official and UoN lecturer Prof Elijah Ogolla said.

About 3,500 doctors in public hospitals have been on strike since December 5, demanding implementation of the 2013 CBA they signed with the Health ministry.

The agreement was declared invalid on October 6 by the Labour Court because it lacked input from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the county governments.

Counties employ 80 per cent of Kenyan doctors.

Justice Monica Mbaru ordered the union to negotiate a new CBA within 90 days, but officials called a strike instead.

The old CBA gives the lowest paid doctor, an intern, a monthly salary of Sh325,000, up from Sh127,000.