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September 19, 2018

Nyamira doctors finally back to work after 71-day boycott

Nyamira governor John Nyagarama before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee on April 7, 2016 /HEZRON NJOROGE
Nyamira governor John Nyagarama before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee on April 7, 2016 /HEZRON NJOROGE

Nyamira doctors have signed a return-to-work formula and agreed to resume duty.

KMPDU signed the deal to end the medics’ 71-day strike over three months’ unpaid salaries on Wednesday.  Doctors were directed to return to work on Thursday.

“...our people have been suffering. We have hence agreed to call off the strike and get back to saving lives as we continue with more dialogue moving forward,” KMPDU regional secretary Lameck Omweri said.

Nurses returned to work last week. The medics have been paid all their arrears, despite the county assembly and the executive announcing a week ago that only staff who report for duty will be paid.

“We cannot pay for work not done. We are a family and Kenyans are watching. As much as we may want to help each other, we cannot assume and bend the law,” county Public Service Board chairman peter Nyakundi said.

“Your employer is Nyamira county and our position is clear. Let us follow the law.”

He accused the medics of demanding salaries for a period they were absent from work 

without permission.

On Wednesday Governor John Nyagarama would not comment on the pay issue, citing a lawsuit filed by the medics.

“I do not want to be in contempt of court. We will only prolong our talks after an industrial court has ruled for or against your case on matters payment,” he said when he met seven nurses’ officials.

Dialogue, not strike

The meeting took place at his office. Nyagarama said it was unnecessary for the medics to go on strike as no county worker had been paid.

“I understand that medics perform the most sensitive work world over. That you voluntarily decided to down your working tools and left precious life to be lost at that period, it was not the best option. Dialogue could have been given a chance,” he said.

The strike started when he was out of the country for treatment.

A week ago, the  Health executive Douglas Bosire said it is common practice the world over that only medics who render their services are paid. 

County secretary Eric Onchana urged the doctors to use dialogue instead of going on strike to solve their grievances.

“The nurses’ union and the KMPDU have highlighted their issues and we are glad that the governor has directed that the issues be addressed and we get to the bottom of the suffering that the people are undergoing in health facilities,” Onchana said.

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