Striking doctors yesterday rejected a Sh4 billion offer by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which raised their gross salaries by at least 40 per cent.
This would have increased the monthly pay of an intern from the current Sh126,000 to Sh197,000, plus a monthly Sh10,000 risk allowance. The strike enters day 34 today.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union officials said Uhuru’s offer fell short of what they bargained for in their Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Health ministry in 2013.
They made the announcement at the Railways Club, Nairobi.
But the government has described the decision by doctors to reject the 40 per cent offer “painful”. Treasury CS Henry Rotich said they are disappointed by the decision to turn down the offer but are hopeful that they will reach a solution. Another meeting will be held on Monday with officials from the national and county governments.
The 2013 CBA gives them a 300 per cent salary hike, raising the monthly pay of a university intern to Sh325,000.
It also promised them furnished lounges in all hospitals and full scholarships for masters degrees. “The issue is not the increase in salaries or allowances, but the implementation of the CBA,” KMPDU chairman Samuel Oroko said.
Consultant cardiologist Elijah Ogola said they will reject any offers outside the CBA. “The document is valid as it was deposited in court, legally signed. All the other offers outside this can be discussed at a later stage,” he said.
However, governors, who now employ 80 per cent of all doctors, last year successfully challenged the CBA in court, arguing that it is invalid because the medics signed it with their former employer, the Health ministry.
Uhuru said the government’s offer was based on sound management of the available resources. He also offered to raise the entry level grade into the public service for doctors to Job Group “M” from Job Group “L”. This is higher than the normal entry level for all other public servants.
The Friday negotiations ended after 10 minutes after the medics presented feedback from the union’s National Governing Council.
“After presenting our feedback, we were asked to leave. However, we expressed our desire to get a counter-offer from the government,” KMPDU trustee and leader of the negotiations Alex Muturi said. In 2013, when the CBA was signed, the proposed salaries were suspended to await the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to set out guidelines for doctors pay.