President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday expressed his frustration with the ongoing healthcare strike talks terming the doctors union’s demands as a blackmail.
He said that what the medics were demanding in their 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement is too high and cannot be achieved overnight.
”Doctors have our respect, but we also need to clarify about the consequences of their strike,” said President Kenyatta during the Fourth Devolution Conference in Naivasha.
”If this round they are engaged with religious leaders fail, we will be in a bit of a problem with them. This is blackmail and we are not going to entertain it.”
Uhuru noted that doctors are respected people in society before reminding them not to go against the respect accorded to them.
“Your duty is to protect all. We will not achieve what you want overnight. Doctors occupy a special place in our hearts and they have our respect.”
”It is clear to me that the doctors grievances will never be resolved by creating new grievances of their own. Two wrongs have never made a right. There is no fairness in that.”
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has granted three more days to those involved in the healthcare strike mediation process to enable them to iron out all the remaining issues including the return-to-work-formula.
Justice Martha Koome who gave the ruling on Tuesday said:
”We grant further mention to complete outstanding CBA and matter to be mentioned on March 13 to record consent.”
The court heard that the terms of return-to-work-formula are still under discussion and yet to be agreed on. The court also heard religious leaders were involved in the talks, urging them to carry on until a solution is found.
According to a report presented in court by representatives of religious leaders led by Cardinal John Njue of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, the government proposed to backdate striking doctors’ risk allowances to July 2016, a package that will supposedly cost KSh 600 million.