Nearly four months after calling off a nationwide strike and agreeing to resume duty, doctors have now put pen to paper on a hard-fought document: the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
County governments on Thursday signed the deal with doctors, a week after the Ministry of Health - representing the national government - also signed the document which will see the lowest paid medics (interns) earn Sh212,989 and the highest paid earn about Sh814,000.
Signed between the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and all the 47 devolved units, the four-year document is expected to be registered at the Employment and Labour Relations court within the next 14 days.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the offices of the Council of Governors (CoG) in Nairobi, KPMDU secretary general Dr Ouma Oluga said: “We are sincerely sorry to our patients but we know sometimes struggle brings something better.”
Milestone for medics
The doctors also said that signing the CBA marks a new beginning not just for doctors but also patients across the country.
“When someone in the village goes to the hospital they should be able to get proper and dependable healthcare,” said KMPDU chairman Dr Samuel Oroko.
The CBA seeks to improve basic pay as well as provide doctors with allowances such as call allowance.
The document is the second of three others that will be signed between doctors and their three employers: the Ministry of Health, referral hospitals like Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) which are considered to be semi-autonomous, and the counties.
Turkana, Vihiga and Kisumu led governors in signing the document which for months was at the centre of the strike that began last year in December 5, 2016, and went down as Kenya’s longest national strike after independence.
Aside from monetary perks, the document will improve working conditions for medics in public hospitals.
Upon graduation and completion of internships, a medical officer will be placed in Job Group M.
Considered the “donkeys of the hospitals” for the amount of work they do, medical interns are major beneficiaries of the deal.
They will be paid no later than a month after they have worked at their station and will now only work for 40 hours a week.