Police yet to arrest officials of medical union

Wednesday January 11 2017

Dr Samuel Oroko (centre), the national chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners', Pharmacists' and Dentists' Union, with its national secretary-general Dr Ouma Oluga (left) and Nairobi branch secretary Dr Thuranira Kaugiria at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi on December 8, 2016. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dr Samuel Oroko (centre), the national chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners', Pharmacists' and Dentists' Union, with its national secretary-general Dr Ouma Oluga (left) and Nairobi branch secretary Dr Thuranira Kaugiria at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi on December 8, 2016. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By EUNICE KILONZO
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Police are yet to arrest Kenya Medical Practitioners', Pharmacists' and Dentists' Union officials as ordered by a court on Tuesday.

The arrest of seven union leaders was ordered after they skipped sentencing in a contempt of court case, for having called a strike, now in its 39th day, on December 5, despite an order barring the industrial action.

The Nation was unable to reach Kilimani Police Station boss Peter Katam, who was tasked with making the arrests by Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

But, he is quoted in other media reports as saying his team had formally received the court instructions and was looking for the officials.

The doctors are “in a secure place” and will appear in court on Thursday for the mention of the case, according to a source close to the officials.

In the meantime, the government has maintained that it is willing to continue dialogue with the striking doctors as the deadline to return to work lapsed on Wednesday.

The doctors have maintained they will not budge until their demands, contained in the 2013 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), are upheld and implemented.

However, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission advised that the CBA would not be registered (so as to be legally binding) in its current form because it did not have the relevant stakeholders, such as counties, who must be involved. Further, the CBA was to be aligned to existing laws, policies and regulations.

Nonetheless, the Health ministry has expressed its commitment, and that of county governments, to resolve the stalemate.

In a press statement in Wednesday’s Nation, the ministry added it was cognizant of “the vital role played by collective bargaining agreement in fostering harmony between employees and employers, the government is ready and willing to negotiate and conclude a CBA within 60 days from the return to work date”.

The ministry said it had offered a 40 per cent increase of the current remuneration but this has been turned down by the doctors.

“Despite several meetings, the union has remained adamant that they must get a 300 per cent salary increment,” added the statement.