Doctors have said they are ready to back down on some of their salary demands but only if the Government drops its hardline position. The striking doctors yesterday told the Senate’s Health committee that they were ready to cede ground if both the national and county governments agreed to four key concerns they raised in the contentious collective bargaining agreement. Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KPMDU) officials identified training, employment, staffing and working conditions as bare minimum areas they wanted the Government to address before they return to work. They said the Government must address the human resource concerns, including harmonisation and standardisation of salaries across all county and national health facilities.
“We don’t want to go back to a system where our work will be to supervise death. We don’t want a situation where a doctor is given training opportunities on the basis of tribe so that one is released and the other one is not. These are the issues that must be addressed,” said KPMDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga.
Committee chairman Wilfred Machage (Migori senator) had pleaded with the union officials to compromise, saying: “I am appealing to you now not even as a legislator but also a doctor and an older brother; do not hang onto that CBA because it is not even registered.” He added: “Learn from the teachers, do not let go of what the Government has offered. I am not saying you should accept the 40 per cent pay increase offer, but it can be the basis of your negotiation.” Dr Oluga said they would only compromise if the Government demonstrated goodwill. “It is time for compromise. There has been a lot of misconception and misinformation that money is the only issue we raised,” he said.