Reports of a proposed meeting between striking doctors and President Kenyatta at State House, Mombasa on Wednesday, January 4, has been denied by doctors union officials.
Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union secretary-general Ouma Oluga denied knowledge of the meeting.
He said the union was not aware although indicating that they were ready for talks to end the six-week strike.
”We are yet to receive a formal invitation to attend the meeting. We are treating the reports as rumors. If indeed there are such talks they will be made public,” Oluga said.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu has also said he was not aware of the proposed meeting.
The doctors embarked on a strike demanding improved working conditions and the recruitment of more doctors. The current doctor to patient ratio is 1:16,000.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court declared the strike illegal which the striking doctors ignored. They remained adamant saying they would only return if the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the government is implemented.
The two factions have met previously but failed to reach an agreement leading to the doctors storming out of the talks.
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The government says the union is demanding a 300% pay rise which the doctors union deny.
“The Collective Bargaining Agreement entailed financing researches, strengthening internship programs and other issues, not exorbitant salaries,” Oluga said.
He added that talks without the implementation of a CBA were null and void.
President Kenyatta, in his New Year address to the nation, urged striking doctors not to make innocent patients suffer while expressing optimism that a solution would be reached.