KMPDU Issues Strike Notice

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) National Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah (Left) and National Chairman Dr. Abidan Mwachi during a presser in Naivasha on Saturday.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) on Saturday issued a 60-day strike notice.

Speaking to media while in Naivasha during their meeting, the union officials led by the KPDMU Secretary General Dr. Davji Atellah, strongly opposed the move by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission(SRC) to cut down their allowances and salaries in a move to set them at par with other workers in the public sector.

The medics have argued that the SRC did not consult them over the new guidelines to abolish doctors’ contractual earnings and remuneration.

In the guidelines, SRC justified the move to develop the Allowances Policy Guideline for the Public Service, 2021 and maintained that the policy guideline was developed through a consultative and participatory process with stakeholder and public participation being undertaken as required under Articles 10 and 232 of the Constitution.

SRC said this was in line with Article 230(4) of the constitution, and in line with the principles provided in Article 230(5) of the constitution, and Section 12 of SRC Act, 2011.

“The overarching objective of the Allowances Policy Guideline for the Public Service is to provide a structured approach to streamlining the management and administration of allowances to improve transparency, accountability, equity and fairness, thereby, ensuring that the total public compensation bill is affordable and fiscally sustainable,” the SRC statement states in part.

SRC further states that payment of the allowance in addition to the basic salary amounts to double compensation. Consequently, SRC advised that the allowance be abolished and cease to be payable.

Atellah and KPDMU on their part argued that the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) are contractually binding between employers and employees under International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions No. 98 and 87 read together with Kenyan Constitution 2010 Article 41 and relevant employment and labor legislative tools.

“It is also paramount to note that it is a national and global labour practice and procedure never to review remunerations backwards. It is unethical and colonial in nature. Non-Practice Allowance was initiated for purposes of incentive and compensational,” he said.

“The officers benefiting from this allowance are compensated for the loss of earnings they forego while actively practicing in the medical facilities; that is the rationale behind including the same in our CBA as a negotiable item, meaning it is part and parcel of doctors’ contractual terms and conditions of employment,” he added.

KPDMU argues that SRC is a stranger and not a signatory to the said negotiated, concluded and registered CBA and therefore does not have the rationale and or constitutional mandate to scrap or abolish such remuneration gains.

According to Atellah, basic salary including all other allowances present bare minimum standard of living for an employee and any unconstitutional attempt to reduce even a single component of the gross earnings will directly suffocate their welfare.

He further added that it will seriously injure the productivity and motivation of the entire workforce in the public sector which subsequently will translate into a serious negative impact on public health care.

“Consequently, KMPDU rejects and opposes the said guidelines and policies for their repugnant, non-considerate ill intention. Abolishing the said allowances shall remain the severest infringement and threat to the employment rights and breech of employment contracts. The welfare of our members is our core objective,” the KPDMU officials said.

Early this month, the Government held a meeting with KMPDU officials that averted a nationwide strike that was to start this month of January.

This is after in a press briefing on November 26, 2022, the union said it would pursue industrial action if the government failed to honor a July 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Some of the grievances highlighted by the doctors during the meeting with the Government include; basic salary adjustments, creation of call rooms, posting of medical interns, employment of more doctors and provision of working tools.

Atellah has called upon the government to obey a court judgement issued on October 21, 2021, compelling it to implement the CBA. Failure to this, the union says it remains adamant in its industrial action.


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