Ragwa gives striking Tharaka-Nithi doctors seven days to resume work or get fired

Thursday January 12 2017

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa addresses

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa addresses journalist in his office on January 12, 2017. He has given the 52 doctors in the county who are on strike seven days to show cause why they should not be dismissed for boycotting duty. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ALEX NJERU
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Striking doctors in Tharaka-Nithi County have seven days to explain why they should not be sacked if they do not resume on duty, Governor Samuel Ragwa has said.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, Mr Ragwa said the county has written to the 52 doctors asking them to explain why they should not be dismissed for boycotting duty.

He said after the end of the seven-day ultimatum, all doctors who will not have satisfied the panel handling the matter will be dismissed and their positions advertised.

Mr Ragwa said those who would wish to get back to work after the seven days period is over will have to apply afresh.

“The doctors have only seven days to defend their jobs before they are dismissed,” said Mr Ragwa.

He said the county will not pay December salaries, terming the doctors' strike illegal.

COUNTIES NOT PART OF CBA

The governor noted that counties were not party to the 2013 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and since 80 per cent of doctors are working under counties, they should have honoured a request by the Council of Governor (CoG) to resume work as negotiations continue.

He noted that even if doctors had accepted the 40 per cent pay increase offered by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Tharaka-Nithi County would be in a crisis because its budget cannot support the increment.

“Our monthly salary (allocation) for health workers is Sh126 million as at now and if doctors accept the 40 per cent increase, the amount will rise to Sh160 million which is a lot to us,” Mr Ragwa said.

The county boss accused doctors of being selfish, noting that they are paid better than their counterparts in the same job groups in other sectors.

He noted that a doctor from internship requires only five years to get to job group R and earn almost Sh200,000 while government employees in other sectors requires almost 20 years to earn a similar amount.

Mr Ragwa added that the argument by doctors that they study for a long time and pay a lot of money was not genuine because most of them are sponsored by the government.

“Most of doctors spend government money to study and should not count themselves special in anyway,” he said.