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Doctors in Kenya end three-month strike

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(FILES) This file photo taken on December 10, 2016 shows Kenyan Defence force {KDF} Doctors walking inside Kenyatta National Hospital, on December, 10,2016, in Nairobi, after Kenya deployed army doctors to the country’s main teaching and referral hospital where the last remaining doctors joined a five-day strike.<br />Kenyan doctors on January 6, 2017 rejected government’s offer of a 40 percent pay rise in the latest bid to end a month-long strike that has crippled public hospitals across the country.Thousands of doctors in the country downed tools on December 5 to demand a 300 percent pay rise that they say was agreed in a 2013 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and several rounds of negotiations have failed as the medics dig their heels in.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / JOHN MUCHUCHA

Kenyan doctors ended a three-month strike in public hospitals on Tuesday after reaching agreement on pay and working conditions, ending a standoff that threatened to embarrass the government before August’s elections.

The agreement grants doctors increased allowances, outlines a promotion plan and protects doctors who went on strike from retribution. County governments will recognise the union and conclude local agreements within 60 days.

“This bring to an end one of the most painful of experiences in labour relations in the country,” said Peter Munya, governor of Meru county and chairman of the Council of Governors.

“We wish that this country shall never experience this again,” said Ouma Oluga, the secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union, which has around 5,000 members in state hospitals.

The doctors went on strike on Dec. 5, demanding authorities implement a 2013 agreement to give them a 150 to 180 percent pay rise. Last week, they rejected an offer of a pay rise of 50 percent.

Private doctors were flooded with patients during the strike, but many Kenyans were unable to afford the fees and could not get treatment.

The strike saw white-coated doctors hold street protests outside government offices when union leaders were briefly jailed.

The protests upset the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking reelection when Kenya holds parliamentary and presidential elections in August.


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