KENYA: STRIKING DOCTORS’ WALK OUT OF TALKS WITH GOVT AS FUEL DEALERS CALL OFF STRIKE

The Kenyan government has expressed frustrations with the doctors’ union officials over the 2013 pay hike demands.

Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu has accused the officials of rejecting an improved pay package that was offered by the government Tuesday morning. Under the improved offer, the lowest paid doctor in job group M would take home Shs196,989 as opposed to the previous offer of Shs127,910 under a lower job group L.

The officials are said to have left the meeting in a huff and promised to give their response to the offer on Friday.

Mailu said he had met with the officials and agreed to the new proposal which they had promised to share with their members.

We have done everything possible in agreeing to demands of doctors . We will be in talks with county governments, to ensure Kenyans continue to get services, the CS said.

Mailu says he was hopeful for a breakthrough after 8 weeks of back and forth only to be disappointed by the change of tune by the officials.

Doctors walked out of the meeting today but they are to respond to the new offer on Friday. It is unfortunate doctors withdrew their services even as we held talks he said.

Under the new improved package in comparison to the doctors demands stipulated in the 2013 CBA, a doctor in the lowest job group M was to receive house allowance of shs28,000 as opposed to shs30,000, doctors allowance of shs66,000 a hike from shs30,000 on the CBA, commuter allowance of shs6,000 opposed to shs20,000, Risk allowance of shs10,000 opposed to shs60,000 on the CBA, and extraneous allowance of shs30,000 from shs60,000 demanded by the doctors .

But the doctors are accusing the CS of trying to ambush them with a new offer which does not contain their input.

The officials say they will submit themselves to jail after the talks seemed to have hit a dead end.

Addressing over 500 medics gathered in Nairobi, the union officials said they have explored all available avenues in vain.

Meanwhile, Medicine students from University of Nairobi have called on the government and doctors to urgently resolve the ongoing strike since it’s likely to delay their forthcoming graduation.

Meanwhile, fuel dealers have called off their two-day strike after a meeting with government officials led by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.

The strike had caused jitters among Kenyans after reports that fuel shortage would hit Nairobi and other parts of the country from Wednesday.

The government has now exempted empty fuel and cooking gas tankers from the night curfew.

Last month, the government moved to ensure that the curfew on the transport of petroleum products between 6pm and 6am that was effected from January 2014 is fully implemented.

The transporters under the Kenya Independent Petroleum Distributors Association had commenced a countrywide strike to protest the curfew.

The meeting led by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter resolved to exempt empty fuel trucks from the directive to allow them more time to access depots.

The Energy Regulatory Commission noted that the directive was revised since the empty tankers did not pose any safety challenges to other motorists. Earlier in the day, concerns had been raised that if a deal had not been reached, transport across the country would have grounded to a halt.

During the meeting between the government and the fuel dealers, it emerged that the stalemate was a legislative issue that needed a parliamentary process to be amended.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK