255 Nairobi doctors strike over salary delay, breached contract

NMS deputy Kang'ethe Thuku says they have met all demands, says doctors are being unfair to taxpayers

In Summary

•"Today, only 11 doctors have been paid their September salaries, and there are unexplained deductions of between Sh15,000 to Sh50,000," he said outside the union offices yesterday. 

•"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," says Kang'ethe Thuku

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: File

Some 255 doctors in Nairobi County have gone on strike, accusing the Nairobi Metropolitan Services of delaying their September salaries and breaching a return-to-work formula signed on August 26.

The doctors said they issued the NMS a seven-day strike notice, which elapsed today. 

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

 
 
 

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

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, there was need 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 5th of each month as agreed," he says in a communication to the union.

Kaugiria also accused 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 a 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 NHIF.

 
 
 

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

Kaugiria said doctors specifically wanted to be covered through NHIF, claiming that 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 for additional documents from the consultants, which have since 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, doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital said they might strike on Monday if they fail to reach an agreement with the management this week.

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,” SRC said.