May 2017 BusinessDaily; Doctors have accused county public service boards (PSBs) of frustrating efforts to have their collective bargaining agreement with the devolved units signed.
Whereas governors say they do not have a problem with signing the agreement, they have since passed the responsibility to their respective PSBs.
The board members argue they were not part of the negotiation team that came up with the CBA that ended the 100-day doctors’ strike on March 14 and are not privy to the details.
“We are reading politics in the whole issue, how can the board say that they were not part of the negotiation and that they will not sign the agreement yet their bosses (governors) were in the meetings,” said Dr Otieno Nelson, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Kisumu representative.
The CBA directly addresses understaffing issues in the health sector, with the government being asked to employ at least 1,200 doctors per year for the next four years.
The doctors have given the counties and national government a 16 days ultimatum to either sign the agreement or they take to the streets once again.
“What we want is that once it is signed, the counties will have to recognise that we are members of KMPDU and facilities be reasonably equipped with the tools and equipment necessary for the performance of our job,” said Dr Otieno.
He went on; “Where doctors are expected to attend to calls at night, they shall be provided with transport and security to and from the hospital where necessary. Doctors are entitled to health insurance, annual leave, mortgage and car loan.”
He said they have been frustrated with the slow progress of the signing of the agreement.
“We are wondering why the governors are withdrawing and giving room for other people to take over the whole issue yet they were part of the negotiations,” said Dr Evans Ogot, Siaya KMPDU representative.
He said members of their PSB should tell them why they were taking long to implement the CBA and not giving excuses that they were not part of the negotiation team.
“They cannot be saying that they were not part of the negotiation team while the governors were there. It was impossible to involve them because they were fully represented. In the interest of time, we want it fully implemented,” he said.
He said they are having difficulties with the board and they feel it is politically incited.
“They work under the directive of the governors who were part of the team. Why is it that they are now changing and passing the blame to the board,” said Dr Ogot.
Dr Benard Omondi, the Homa Bay representative, said they will be on the street if the CBA is not signed.
“This is the language our employer understands best,” he said.
“They are taking us in circles yet they are the people who at the end of the day will have to sign the agreement. Why don’t they sign it so that in case there is anywhere that needs to be rectified, we do it while working rather than going to the streets,” said Dr Otieno.