Nyamira County doctors down tools over failure to honour CBA

Doctors strike

Doctors serving under the Nyamira County government downed their tools Monday after the expiry of their 21-days strike notice.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula I Nation Media Group

Doctors serving under the Nyamira County government downed their tools Monday after the expiry of their 21-days strike notice.

The doctors asked patients in the county government to seek medical services from neighbouring counties.

The doctors accused the county administration of ignoring their three demands and being disrespectful to them.

“The law requires that we give a seven days strike notice. Us we gave 21 days but they have not been courteous enough to even call us in a meeting regarding the issues we are raising,” said Dr Aggrey Orwenyo, the Secretary of the Nyanza branch of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU). 

Dr Orwenyo said that KMPDU members will be on strike for as long as it takes, for the county to wake up and do what it is supposed to do.

KMPDU is accusing Nyamira County of failing to honour three demands that they had given. 

The demands included a formal and binding commitment letter as and when all doctors serving in the county shall have their promotion letters, detailing the settlement of all the accrued promotion arrears and confirmation of six doctors that are still on alleged unlawful probation terms of employment.

The KMPDU also wants the county government to rubbish a directive denying their members access to loan facilities from creditors. 

Also, KMPDU says that the strike is occasioned by failure by the Governor Amos Nyaribo-led administration to honour a Return To Work Formula (RTWF) that dates back to 2021.

“This has left our dedicated doctors in a state of limbo, with prolonged probation periods, no promotions for consultant and doctors for over eight years, and even demotions. The situation is dire and its time for action,” said KMPDU National Secretary General Dr Davji Atellah.

KMPDU wants more doctors to be employed by the county to enable the achievement of the one doctor to 1000 patients ratio as per the World Health Organisation recommendations.

Currently, Nyamira County has only 30 doctors against a population of over 600,000 residents.

The doctors challenged the county government to form a tendency of employing even 20 doctors on a yearly basis.

“Nyamira County has a deficit of about 500 doctors but we are not telling them to employ that number at once. We are telling them to budget and employ about 20 doctors per year,” said Nyanza KMPDU Chairperson Onyango Ndong’a.

Dr Onyango continued: “We are joining Nyamira County in a strike they initiated three years ago. We have patiently and diplomatically tried to solve the issues that we raised in our strike notice”.

Dr Orwenyo underscored that the KMPDU negotiated and signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the county government of Nyamira in good faith, but the county’s response to their demands has been insulting and disrespectful.