Gov’t, doctors resume talks to end strike

By Eric Biegon

The government and the striking health practitioners have jump-started negotiations in a bid to end the ongoing strike.

The talks spearheaded by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in conjunction with the Law Society of Kenya are specifically aimed at crafting a return to work formula more than two months after doctors downed their tools paralyzing services in public health facilities.

The talks resumed amid threats by the nurses to kick off a strike of their own next month.

The talks were promptly convened in light of the determination by the court of appeal which directed the release of the 7 KMPDU officials, on condition that they will commit to the spirit of negotiations.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Law Society of Kenya indeed confirmed that they spearheaded the talks which among other things seek to persuade the doctors to call off their strike which has paralyzed services in public hospitals.

The next item for discussion was the modalities of the implementation of the 2013 CBA signed between the government and the doctors.

KNCHR and LSK confirmed that they will also craft a return-to-work formula that will be presented in court on February 23.

But even as the talks to end the biting health crisis resumed, nurses at Kijabe mission hospital joined the long list of disgruntled health workers, threatening industrial action beginning next week.

Issuing the strike notice, the nurses’ union secretary general Seth Panyako faulted the hospital’s management for failing to disclose information regarding the nurse’s remuneration and terms of service as per the labor laws.

He says the 21 day strike notice expires in less than 24 hours.  At the same time he warned that nurses nationally would down their tools from next month if the government will not have signed the negotiated CBA that is registered in court as per the return to work formula.