A fresh standoff between doctors and their employers, the county governments, is looming as the 60-day deadline period for the return-to-work agreement implementation comes to an end Friday.
The Council of Governors (CoG) had on Tuesday this week sent out a notice inviting county secretaries, county executive committees for health and county health officers for a signing of the medics’ recognition agreement and nurses’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA) today-- but the event was cancelled Thursday at the last minute.
Doctors had entered an agreement with the national government and CoG in March, which brought a historic 100 day medics’ strike to an end in anticipation for better pay and job promotions.
The return- to- work agreement provided that the 47 county governments sign recognition agreements and subsequently sign the medics’ CBA with KMPDU – within 60 days.
The stalemate comes even as doctors and nurses from a number of counties including Nyamira, Nyeri, Nakuru and Embu downed their tools last week demanding unpaid salaries and citing job group disparities.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary-general, Dr Ouma Oluga, said the government was yet to honour any part of the agreement.
“Nothing has been implemented in the return-to-work formula, doctors have not been paid and the job groups are yet to be amended,” Dr Oluga told the Business Daily.
“There is a go-slow in the whole country and more counties will join in the strike until it becomes a national one.”
As of Thursday, doctors in Machakos and Kiambu counties had resumed work after their salary issues were sorted.
CoG chief executive, Jacqueline Mogeni however said that the medics had requested that the ceremony be postponed to a later date to allow validation of the documents.
Ms Mogeni said that the return-to-work formula and the CBA documents were ready and they could be signed after Thursday, next week.
“Doctors requested we postpone it to allow for validation of the documents with all the 47 counties and we will be doing so next Thursday,” said Ms Mogeni.
“We will be doing this with all the stakeholders and mediators involved in negotiations so that they can see their efforts bearing fruit.”
Dr Oluga said that they signed the consent yesterday to accommodate the extra days and “hopefully the documents will be signed next week”.
He said: “We would have finished the signing long ago since there is nothing new in the documents but both the national government and the CoG have a lot of issues to be sorted out on their side.”