Govt Acts After Doctors List Ultimatums in 30-Days Strike Notice
The government moved in to avert doctors’ strike, whose notice had been issued by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board (KMPDU), by appointing a conciliator to address the dispute.
According to a letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection dated Wednesday, December 14, the government’s decision was informed by its recognition of the importance of the services KMPDU members offer to the public.
In the letter signed by J.N Mwanzia on behalf of the Commissioner for Labour, Kisurulia Kuloba was appointed as the conciliator in the apprehended dispute.
“After a careful review of the letter, it has been noted the intended withdrawal of labour is being contemplated by members who are involved in the provision of service of an essential nature.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary general Davji Atellah (centre) flanked by other doctors during the seventh special delegates conference in November 2022.
“It is therefore in the public interest for the Cabinet Secretary to urgently intervene to avert the union’s threatened action,” read part of the letter.
The ministry indicated that the appointment of the Chief Industrial Relations Officer as the conciliator in the dispute was in accordance with Section 70(1) of the Labour Relations Act, 2007.
“All parties are requested to submit a written memorandum in respect to the disputed and cooperate with the conciliator in his efforts to resolve it,” the letter continued.
Mwanzia also called on KMPDU to call off the strike action to pave way for conciliation efforts.
KMPDU had on November 26, 2022, indicated that doctors across the country would go on strike from January 6, 2023, if the government fails to fulfil agreements in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering the 2017-2021 period.
According to the KMPDU Secretary-General Dr Davji Bhimji Atallah, the management and governance structure of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) also needed an overhaul.
Bhimji added that KMPDU sought to see stability at the national insurer, affirming that NHIF would serve Kenyans better if its stability is guaranteed.
In the meantime, the union is expected to call off the strike action to pave the way for conciliation efforts.
Public Service CS, Aisha Jumwa, in office after her inauguration on October 27, 2022