Nairobi Senator Sifuna Defends Doctors' Strike, Urges Government to Honor CBA

Kenyan senator supports doctors' strike, calls on govt to honor 2017 CBA; strike disrupts public healthcare, highlights ongoing dispute between workers and govt.

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Israel Ojoko
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Nairobi Senator Sifuna Defends Doctors' Strike, Urges Government to Honor CBA

Nairobi Senator Sifuna Defends Doctors' Strike, Urges Government to Honor CBA

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has come out in support of the ongoing doctors' strike in Kenya, calling on the government to honor the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed with the doctors. The strike, now in its sixth week, has disrupted operations at public hospitals across the country.

Sifuna criticized President William Ruto's statement that those supporting the strike should pay the doctors instead, arguing that the money used to pay doctors comes from public coffers, not the president's pocket.

He also expressed concern over the threats made by the Inspector General of Police against the striking doctors, stating that the police chief does not understand the Bill of Rights and people's right to assemble.

The senator questioned the government's criteria in choosing which arrangements from previous administrations to execute, criticizing them for continuing with illegal arrangements while neglecting legal ones like the CBA. He also questioned the Health Cabinet Secretary's understanding of the sanctity of a CBA, stating that it is an agreement the government entered into voluntarily and cannot back out of.

Sifuna expressed embarrassment that the Senate failed to ask the Health CS serious questions during a plenary session, noting that the government had walked out of negotiations with doctors on March 27th and refused to meet further unless doctors gave up their right to strike. The ongoing strike has 19 grievances, with the top issues being the immediate posting of medical interns and the settlement of salary arrears per the CBA.

Why this matters: The doctors' strike has left many patients without access to medical care and highlights the ongoing dispute between healthcare workers and the government over the implementation of the 2017 CBA. The strike's resolution has significant implications for the state of Kenya's public healthcare system and the working conditions of medical professionals in the country.

Despite a court order for the doctors to return to work, the strike continues as negotiations between the government and the doctors' union remain at an impasse. The Council of Governors has termed the CBA as unreasonable and called for its review, while the doctors maintain that the government must honor the agreement. As political leaders weigh in on the dispute, the strike's impact on the health sector and the lives of Kenyans continues to grow.

Key Takeaways

  • Nairobi Senator Sifuna supports doctors' strike, calls for CBA implementation.
  • Sifuna criticizes Ruto's statement that supporters should pay doctors' salaries.
  • Sifuna questions govt's criteria in executing previous admin's arrangements.
  • Doctors' strike disrupts public healthcare, with 19 grievances including salary arrears.
  • Court order for doctors to return to work unheeded as negotiations remain deadlocked.