KNH STRIKE POSSIBLE

255 Nairobi doctors strike over late salary, breached contract

NMS deputy Kang'ethe Thuku says medics are being unfair to taxpayers as they have met all demands.

In Summary

• Union said only 11 doctors have been paid their September salaries, and there were unexplained deductions of Sh15,000 to Sh50,000.

•  NMS said it has paid all salary arrears caused by recent promotion and it's unfair for union members to deny services to taxpayers.

KMPDU Nairobi branch secretary general Thuranira Kaugiria outside the union offices in Nairobi.
KMPDU Nairobi branch secretary general Thuranira Kaugiria outside the union offices in Nairobi.
Image: Douglas Okiddy

Some 255 doctors in Nairobi county went on strike Thursday.

They accused the Nairobi Metropolitan Services of delaying their September salaries and breaching a return-to-work formula signed in August.

The doctors said they issued the NMS a seven-day strike notice, which lapsed on Wednesday.

Separately, doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital said they might go on strike on Monday if they fail to reach an agreement this week.

Concerning the strike by 255 doctors, Nairobi branch secretary of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Dentists and Pharmacists Union Thuranira Kaugiria said the August 26 deal stipulated salaries would be paid by the fifth of every month.

"Today, only 11 doctors have been paid their September salaries, and there are unexplained deductions of between Sh15,000 and Sh50,000," he said.

The NMS said the salary delay was caused by late release funds to counties, after the long revenue-sharing impasse at the Senate.

Deputy director general Kang'ethe Thuku also said after the city payroll moved to NMS in August, it was necessary to first define banks and create user rights in the electronic approval process for new officers. 

"These issues have been resolved and beginning this month the salaries will be ready by the fifth of each month as agreed," he said in a union statement.

Kaugiria also accused the NMS of breaching most other agreements in the August 26 deal. 

He said the county had failed to provide all the 255 unionisable doctors with comprehensive medical insurance through the National Health Insurance Fund. 

But Kang'ethe said the NMS had already negotiated and finalised a comprehensive cover for all its staff with the NHIF.

"However, we received an advisory from the head of Public Service not to proceed with the cover, in consideration that Nairobi City County government had already engaged AAR to provide the same," he said. 

Kaugiria said doctors specifically wanted to be covered through the NHIF, claiming that the NMS had 'chosen' a private insurer for kickbacks. 

He said the service had also failed to include four medical consultants on its payroll and pay them arrears for 26 months. 

However, Kang'ethe said the Public Service Commission had requested additional documents from the consultants, which have been forwarded to the commission. 

"We are waiting for response to enable us take action," he said. 

"In view of the above and in consideration that NMS has paid all the salary arrears occasioned by the recent promotions in the return-to -work formula, it will be unfair for your members to deny services to taxpayers," he added. 

Separately, KNH doctors warned of a strike on Monday.

The workers, who are demanding promotions and higher salaries, suspended their strike on September 30 after courts ordered them to do so.

All the medical workers at the facility are demanding a total of Sh601 million in additional salary and allowances. 

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission said the demand for more money was unjustified because the staff at KNH has already benefited from salary increases for the remuneration review cycle 2017-18 to 2020-21.

“The Commission advised KNH on the resultant job evaluation-based salary structure, which KNH has been implementing since 2017, with the last phase implemented with effect from 1 July 2020,” the SRC said.

(Edited by V. Graham)