By Beth Nyaga
The Court has extended the suspension of doctors’ union officials’ sentence by five more days to give room for further negotiations with the Government.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) officials were expected to begin their jail sentence today (Thursday) but Judge Hellen Wasilwa has reviewed the order allowing negotiations to call off the strike to proceed.
The over 5000 doctors converged at Railways club where they began a protest march to Milimani Courts.
The union moved to court on a certificate of urgency seeking to suspend the jail term slapped on the.
In the application, the doctors’ union claim the sentencing of the officials; Secretary General Ouma Oluga, Chairman Samuel Oroko, Treasurer Daisy Korir, Deputy Treasurer Evelynn Chege, Deputy Secretary General Mwachonda Chibanzi and Vice Chair Allan Ochanji is likely to cripple the ongoing negotiations.
They want the sentence halted for a period of two weeks to enable them engage the government and the Council of Governors to resolve the dispute.
They have also accused government officials of arm-twisting them and frustrating the talks on salary increment among other demands.
The doctors’ strike has entered the 53rd day.
On 12th of January, the Industrial Court Judge Helen Wasilwa gave them two weeks ultimatum to conclude talks with the government failure to which they risked being jailed for a month.
The government has expressed frustrations with the doctors’ union officials over the 2013 pay hike demands.
Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu has accused the officials of rejecting an improved pay package that was offered by the government Tuesday morning.
Under the improved offer, the lowest paid doctor in job group M would take home 196,989 as opposed to the previous offer of 127,910 under a lower job group L.
Additional information by Samuel Musita