Last chance for State-doctors talks before court steps in

Doctors' strike

Hundreds of Health workers participate in a demonstration in Nairobi on April 9, 2024.

Evans Habil| Nation Media Group

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has given the government and striking doctors 48 hours to finalise a return-to-work formula and end the nationwide doctors' strike.

Failure to this, the order issued Monday by Justice Byram Ongaya says, the court will hear petitions and make a determination on the dispute.

This comes four days after KMPDU dismissed reports that doctors had reached an agreement with the government to end the strike that has now lasted 53 days.

Last Friday, a six-hour closed-door meeting between top government officials and KMPDU officials resulted in yet another stalemate. 

KMPDU officials walked out of the meeting while accusing the government side of dishonesty. 

At the time, it was expected that a return-to-work formula would be reached and deposited in court today (Monday) at 9.30am, but that never happened.

On Monday, the Labour court cautioned the parties — being Kenyatta National Hospital vs KMPDU and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and two others — that if they fail to come up with a return-to-work formula, it will be compelled to hear the petition and make the decision for them.

Justice Ongaya explained that he had considered the submissions by counsel present and further considered the previous orders now in place.

“…if no return to work formula is concluded, parties at liberty to file and serve soft and hard copy submissions by noon 08.05.2024,” Justice Ongaya said.

Speaking to the Nation after the order was issued, KMPDU chair Abidan Mwachi assured that the union will comply and return to the negotiation table.

“While this directive presents a pressing challenge, it is not insurmountable if both parties demonstrate sincere commitment to the process,” Dr Mwachi said.