Laikipia Governor signs deal for sacked doctors to resume work

Joshua Irungu KMPPDU

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu shakes hands with KMPPDU Secretary General Davji Attellah in Nanyuki town after signing a return to work formula for sacked doctors.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

The Laikipia Government on Wednesday signed a return-to-work formula with Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) for 33 sacked doctors to resume work from Thursday.

The medics were dismissed 40 months ago by the administration of Governor Ndiritu Muriithi who failed to retain his seat during the August 9 polls.

Newly-elected Governor Joshua Irungu signed the agreement on behalf of the devolved unit while KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah appended the signature on behalf of the doctors.

“We have agreed that 10 out of the 33 medical specialists sacked in 2019 will report to their respective stations from September 1, 2022.  The other 23 are in the process of clearing with their current employers and will be joining us in the near future,” Mr Irungu told a media briefing soon after signing the agreement.

Mr Irungu said the county and the union had reached an out of court settlement where the sacked medics would be paid for 27 months in salary arrears.

Soon after the sacking, the medics went to Labour and Industrial Relations Court which ruled in their favour and directed that they be reinstated and be paid all their dues.

But Governor Muriithi remained adamant and refused to reinstate them, neither did his administration pay the dues as directed which have accumulated over the months.

Though Mr Irungu did not disclose the amount the doctors were demanding before resuming work, it is estimated to be more than Sh200 million.

“My administration is giving improvement of health services a top priority and we shall even employ more medics on permanent and pensionable basis and ensure there are adequate drugs in our health facilities. For now, we do not have ready funds to settle the doctor’s dues but we shall do that through a supplementary budget once the County Assembly reconvenes,” said the governor.

Laikipia Public Service Board chairperson Mumbi Mwago said the medics hired by Mr Muriithi would be retained.

“There are doctors who were hired on contract basis by the previous administration to replace some of the 61 hired medics. We are assuring that they will retain their jobs and we shall ensure that they are on permanent and pensionable basis,” said Ms Mwago.

Dr Atellah noted that the dispute pitting the sacked doctors and Governor Muriithi’s administration erupted following a disagreement over collective bargain agreement.

He appealed to other county bosses to emulate Mr Irungu’s administration by addressing labour disputes before workers resorting to industrial action.

Mr Muriithi’s administration dismissed the doctors after they failed to return to work after the court had declared their strike illegal.

KMPDU appealed the action and named the county government and the County Public Service Board as the respondents in the suit. The parties however, agreed to have the Public Service Commission (PSC) resolve the dispute.