Doctors’s union officials free again, takes petition to parliament

Doctors’ union officials will know there fate on Friday when the Labour Relations Court will deliver a ruling on their contempt of court charges.

  • Justice Wasilwa to give ruling on Friday
  • Judge extends jail term suspension with 3 days
  • Union remains adamant, vows not to call off strike
  • They take petition to parliament

Justice Hellen Wailwa has directed the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials appearing in court today, to appear before the Labour Relations Court on Friday when she will be delivering her ruling.

She has also extended the one month suspended sentence hanging on the officials for three more days to call off the strike that enters its 58th day.

"This court will deliver a ruling a ruling on Friday. As such I have extended the suspension of the ruling to same date, "

Justice Wasilwa directed.

ALSO READ:Doctors out of the woods…for now

The seven beleaguered officials represented by lawyer Edgar Washika put up a spirited fight against their jailing arguing that they had done all that was in their jurisdiction to call of the strike but had been frustrated by government authorities who were non-committal to addressing issues raised by the striking doctors.

"My clients have done everything in their powers to end the strike but other parties have remained non-committal to their issues as expected. The court should not arrest them but compel other actors to act accordingly, "

Lawyer Washika told the court.

The seven officials facing the contempt of court charges include Samuel Oroko, Titus Ondoro, Allan Ochanji, Ouma Oluga, Hamisi Mwachonda Chibanzi, Daisy Korir and Evelyne Chege.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo who was present as a friend of the court urged the court not to jail the officials asking the court to offer negotiations guidelines that will demand action by the Ministries of Health and Labour.

But the Council of Governors had demanded that the court to enforce the jail term today arguing that the case before the court was of contempt and not negotiations surrounding the CBA.

READ ALSO:Doctors strike: Frantic efforts to secure deal as court deadline nears

The doctors have remained adamant that they will not resume duty until their 2013 CBA was fully implemented.

In her ruling on January 12, the judge had faulted the union of adamantly disobeying orders of the court while referring to a CBA which she said she was not aware of since the eight had failed to turn up in court as requested to explain themselves.

Talks to end the strike have severally hit a snag with doctors remaining adamant on their demand while the government on its part declaring that it cannot implement the 2013 CBA agreement.

They have insisted that talks to end the strike which began on December 5 would only proceed if the government is ready to discuss issues related to the CBA they negotiated and signed with the government terming it as ‘legally binding’.

READ ALSO:Let’s talk, Mailu tells striking doctors

The CBA demands a 300 per cent pay rise, giving an intern a monthly salary of Sh325, 000 and specialists close to Sh1 million monthly pay.

They have pressed on with industrial action despite it having been declared illegal by the Court.

At the end of last year they rejected proposals by the Government to conclude negotiations towards ending the strike and turned down a 40 per cent pay increase offered by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

They have also argued their strike had dragged on because Helath Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri did not have the interest of poor Kenyans at heart.

But the minister and the Council of governors have insisted that the 2013 CBA is unregistered in the Labour Court and which without the legal requirement remains non-implementable in its current form.

Additionally the government has continuously accused the union of indecision during the talks to frustrate the efforts and intentions by the State to resolve the impasse.

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