Migori doctors sign deal, call off strike after 10 weeks

KMPDU Nyanza

KMDPU's Nyanza chair Kevin Osuri (second left) and Secretary-General Lameck Omweri (left) in a show of solidarity with union members at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu County on December 20, 2019.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Doctors in Migori County on Monday called off a 10-week strike after striking a deal with the county government, and  promised to return to work in 24 hours.

They downed their tools in November, citing a poor work environment and delayed perks.

The doctors were adamant about returning to work despite incessant appeals by Governor Okoth Obado.

Citing issues including lack of salary increments and the county’s failure to promote long-serving medics, union officials issued a strike notice addressed to County Secretary Christopher Rusana.

"We have called the strike over failure by the county government to meet several demands of frontline health workers, a move that has subjected them to unwarranted suffering and humiliation,” said Dr  Lameck Omweri, Nyanza’s secretary of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

He said payment delays in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic forced members to forgo the NHIF comprehensive cover while digging deep into their pockets to fend for their families.

“It is unfortunate, regrettable and unacceptable that the county has, for over one year, failed to provide the cover, thereby exposing [health workers] to extreme danger in their work environment, especially with the Covid-19 situation in the county,” the strike notice stated.

"Demands met"

But on Monday, KMPDU Nyanza chair, Dr Kevin Osuri, said union officials called off the strike “after rigorous consultations with the county government”.

“We have [ended] the strike in Migori to allow health services to normalise. Our demands have been met so we don’t see any need for citizens to continue suffering,” Dr Osuri said.

However, he asked county leaders to “expeditiously address any industrial dispute that may simmer among employees”.

“It is through dialogue that all issues are addressed. I’m calling on the county leadership to address any discontent among the employees as this will help improve their relationship with the county.”

Mr Rusana, who chaired a meeting on Monday between the county and the doctors’ representatives, confirmed that their issues were addressed.

“We have ensured all the issues that created discomfort have been addressed and a consensus reached,” he said.

We expect they will resume duty as soon as possible to address the huge crisis in our facilities. We are always ready to listen to their grievances and address them.”

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