The County Government of Kisumu has threatened to declare positions of striking doctors vacant if they fail to collect their promotion letters and report back to work by close of business today.
The over 250 doctors downed their tools on 6th December 2019 over failure of the county government to effect their promotions as agreed in the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Health, Prof. Judy Atyang said the county government assured the medics that their promotions were being worked on but they proceeded to go on strike paralyzing health services at all public hospitals.
The CECM said the promotion letters were done on 19th December 2019 and the doctors advised to collect them and end the strike but so far only three have collected.
On Friday, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Kisumu branch officials rallied their members to reject the letters.
The Nyanza Region KMPDU Chairman, Dr. Kevin Osuri described the offers as ‘love letters’, saying they were not a reflection of what was agreed upon in the 2017 CBA. The doctors, he said will carry on with the strike until the 2017 CBA is fully implemented.
However, the CECM has cautioned the doctors against their stand saying the letters were prepared by the County Public Service Board in line with the doctor’s scheme of service.
Speaking to the media in her office on Monday, Prof. Atyang said the doctors have up to 5pm today to collect the letters failure to which the positions shall be declared vacant.
“The county government has a specific template for doing promotion letters so how can they refer to them as love letters yet they have not collected or looked at the contents?” she asked.
The County Government, she said has implemented 95% of the 2017 CBA with the promotions being the only issue pending.
She attributed the slow implementation of the doctor’s promotions to a delay in release of funds from the National Treasury.
The funds, she disclosed are now available and the doctors’ promotions have been backdated to 1st July 2019, urging the medics to be tolerant and embrace negotiations to end the suffering of patients.
The strike, she said has adversely affected the health sector with hundreds of patients being turned away in the county that is implementing the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) project.
By Chris Mahandara