After 100 days of pain, doctors CoG and ministry cure strike

The 100-day doctors’ strike ended yesterday after they signed a return-to-work agreement with the Council of Governors and the Health ministry. The agreement was signed at the CoG offices in Nairobi. Doctors across the country are expected to resume work immediately.

The ministry was represented by Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and PS Nicholas Muraguri, while the union was mainly represented by secretary general Ouma Oluga and chairman Samuel Oroko.

Mailu said, “Those 100 days will remain as black spots on the history of Kenya. It is easy to say we shall restore services, but the 100 days are a loss.”

Speaking on behalf of governors, CoG chairman Peter Munya said, “This matter has now been concluded. This was a most difficult time.”

Oluga said, “We know it was difficult for Kenyans. There cannot be a separation between the rights of Kenyans and the rights of doctors. We want to restore harmony between ourselves and our employer.”

He promised that doctors will provide the “best of services when they return to work”.

In the new agreement,backdated to January 1, the lowest paid doctor will earn between Sh196,244 to Sh206,214 monthly, while the highest paid will earn between Sh442,060 and Sh592,980 respectively.

This is a far cry from what the doctors union demanded throughout the 100 days.

The original 2013 collective bargaining agreement, which was declared invalid by the Labour Court last year, proposed Sh325,000 monthly salary for the lowest paid doctor, an intern.

The highest paid doctor, a specialist, would receive close to Sh1 million every month. Doctors had also insisted they would not return to work unless arrears of the salary were backdated to 2013.

But last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta decreed negotiations should stop because the government was not ready to give more money. The government also announced that all medics who abscond from duty would face disciplinary action.

On Wednesday, Kenyatta National Hospital announced that it had sent 12 doctors home, while 48 others faced disciplinary action for deserting work.

Officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union then announced they were now satisfied with the government’s offer and only needed an acceptable return-to-work formula signed.

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