Press Statement on Doctors Strike, 9th January, 2017
Members of the Press,
Citizens of Kenya,
The Council of Governors today held an extraordinary Council meeting to discuss three key agendas namely; the ongoing strike by doctors, withdrawal of Security of Governors of Mombasa and Kilifi and the Devolution Conference. Invited to the meeting were the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary of Health.
Key issues discussed on the Doctors strike
As we all know there has been an on-going nationwide Doctors strike that commenced on 5th December 2016. It is now on its 35th day and it is quite unfortunate that Kenyans continue to suffer without the services of the Doctors.
The Council of Governors and the National Government noted the following about the strike;
a) There is no dispute between the County Governments and Doctors union since County Governments are not part of the CBA signed between the Doctors union and the Ministry of Health
b) The Court has already in a matter filed by the Doctors themselves declared the said CBA of June 2013 not to be a proper CBA having not involved County Governments who are Doctors employers in Counties.
c) The Doctors strike has been declared illegal and Doctors are asked to renegotiate the CBA within 90 days that were to end on 5th January 2017 but they have totally refused to obey the Court Order.
d) The Council of Governors also went to court and obtained a court order declaring the strike illegal. Despite this the Doctors have continued to disobey the Court Order. The doctors have been found to be in contempt of court orders and the ruling on the punishment will be delivered tomorrow 10 January 2017.
Despite the efforts made by both the National and County Government, the Doctors union has rejected the Government offers however, CoG still remains committed to resolving this stalemate and see the resumption of health service delivery.
The County Governments are calling on all doctors currently on strike to immediately report back on duty in compliance with the Court Orders, failure of which the counties will have no option but to implement the employment regulations and dismiss them. The National and County Governments will not pay any worker who is absent from duty without lawful reason.
The County Public Service Board have therefore been instructed to apply the relevant processes to commence the dismissal process and to recover any monies that may have been paid to any doctors that have not been working. County Governments will then be free to advertise and recruit other doctors for the vacant positions to provide services to the citizens
It is not true that there is a total paralysis in the delivery of health service. While a number of doctors are on strike, a good number of doctors have decided to respect the law and are currently working. We would like to commend those Doctors and to urge all the other remaining doctors to respect the rule of law and report back to work.
I am also glad to report that health services in levels two (2) and three (3) facilities are fully operational and we would like to thank the nurses and other health providers who have continued to offer services to citizens including outpatient services in Level 4 and Level 5 facilities.
The County Governments in consultation with the National Government are committed in proceeding with negotiations as promised and have put in place the necessary negotiating team to commence this process with the Nurses. In order to streamline the labour relations between the Doctors union, each County Government as an employing agency will engage the Doctors union in signing recognition agreement so as to pave the way for collective bargaining negotiations and agreement.
In some areas where health workers are willing to work, we have learnt they are being threatened by colleagues. We shall work with the Ministry of internal security to provide security.
H.E Hon Peter Munya