Talks to end doctors’ strike fail to resume

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Health workers in Mombasa protest over poor pay on the streets of the town on February 23, 2017. Talks to end doctors’ strike failed to continue on February 28, 2017. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Talks to end the nearly three months old doctors’ strike failed to continue on Tuesday after being adjourned on Friday last week.

This is despite an ultimatum given by mediators, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Law Society of Kenya, calling for a softening of positions by the doctors and the government.

The mediators said in a statement that failure to do this by February 28, they would draw up “an appropriate report” for the Court of Appeal.

The talks to resolve the stalemate between the doctors union and the government were adjourned after a deadlock.

The doctors said they were frustrated and dismayed that the government had refused to improve the offer they had given to the health workers.

The government had said implementing what the doctors want will cost as much as the entire national budget.

REVISED DEMANDS DOWNWARDS

This is: “Despite the doctors’ union having revised their demands downwards on two occasions over the last week,” says the joint statement by the co-mediators.

The contentious issues are the effective date of the collective bargaining agreement. The government is pushing for July 2017 while union is stuck on June 2013, the date of they signed the agreement.

The other bone of contention is remuneration as the government would have to pay accumulated arrears.

Kenyans will now train their eyes to the co-mediators for the way forward.

The law society mediators are Mr John Morris Ohaga and Ms Njeri Kariuki while the human rights agency has its chair Kagwiria Mbogori and Mr James Mang’erere.

FINALISE ON NEGOTIATIONS

The talks were granted for seven days on February 23 after Appeal Court judges Fatuma Sichale, Hannah Okwengu and Kantai ole Sankale allowed the request by the mediation team to finalise on the negotiations. The seven days given elapse on March 1.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ union lawyer George Abura, had requested for seven more days but the Council of governors opposed it saying two days would be suitable.

Due to a confidentiality agreement, the progress of the talks are under wraps.

  ©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation

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