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Striking doctors and people celebrate | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Striking doctors and people celebrate outside the Supreme Court and others celebrate at Uhuru Park in Nairobi Feb. 15, 2017. A Kenyan Appeals Court on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of the seven officials of the doctors’ union jailed on Monday pending determination of their case. XINHUA PHOTOS: NYALWASH AND JOHN OKOYO

Kenyan Appeals Court finally frees striking Doctor Union officials

by Chris Mgidu NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan Appeals Court on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of the seven officials of the doctors’ union jailed on Monday pending determination of their case.

Appellate Judges Wanjiru Karanja, Hannah Okwengu and Jamilla Mohamed said return-to-work negotiations should take place over seven days and that the parties will return to court on Feb. 23.

The order was issued following an application by a team of lawyers representing the doctors to set the seven union officials free to allow for the stalled negotiations to resume.

The talks to be spearheaded by rights group, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and Law Society of Kenya (LSK), are to come up with a report aimed at calling off the strike that has lasted 73 days and has been joined by private doctors.

The seven Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials were jailed for 30 days on Monday by the Employment and Labour Relations Court for contempt of court orders, which required them to end the strike that had been declared illegal.

However, the doctors who have been on strike since December 5, 2016, had pleaded with the judge to suspend the sentence to allow them more time to negotiate with the government.

The standoff between the KMPDU and the government continues with union officials maintaining a hard-liner stance, refusing to call off the strike until the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is fully implemented.

KMPDU is demanding a 300-percent salary increase for its members as agreed in the CBA, which will see the lowest-paid doctor earn 3,450 U.S. dollars while the highest earn 9,450 dollars.

The government offered a 500 dollar or 40-percent increase for the lowest-paid doctors, which has been rejected by union officials.

The doctors said the industrial action was occasioned by three-year industrial dispute concerning the CBA signed on June 27, 2013 and effective July 1, 2013.

They accuse the government of failing to show any good will in the negotiation process but instead threatening them with law suits.

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Kenyan court jails striking doctors’ union officials for 30 days

             

 

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