Kenyan Doctors Have Nothing To Celebrate – KMPDU SG Atellah Says On Labour Day

Healthcare workers continue to grapple with challenges while the nation commemorates significant victories in the realm of workers’ rights. The Secretary-General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) expressed a lack of cause for celebration amidst their ongoing struggle. Due to the government’s failure to meet their demands, resulting in a month-long strike, the union finds little reason to join in the festivities with other workers.

Addressing the situation, the Secretary-General highlighted the distress, frustration, and disillusionment experienced by healthcare professionals who are compelled to remain at home due to unfulfilled agreements and blatant violations. The strike commenced on March 14, as medical practitioners left their hospital duties to protest the government’s reluctance to address issues severely impacting the healthcare sector’s functionality.

Emphasizing the importance of upholding the 2017 Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA), which outlines crucial wage agreements, the Secretary-General affirmed the commitment to continue the strike until the agreement is honored. This determination stems from the government’s disregard for the signed agreement, reflecting a lack of appreciation and concern for the welfare of doctors.

Echoing these sentiments, the Chairperson of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) emphasized the desire of physicians to resume their duties but stressed the necessity for the government to meet their demands. Both the union and the patients express frustration with the strike, acknowledging the discomfort it brings while underscoring the inherent dedication healthcare workers have towards their patients.

In response to what he perceives as the marginalization of health workers’ rights, the Chairperson asserted that Labor Day celebrations should serve as a platform to advocate for fairness within the labor force. He stressed the significance of labor rights in facilitating negotiation and emphasized the need for continued agitation to safeguard these rights.

Anticipation surrounds President William Ruto’s address, expected to cover key issues affecting Kenyan workers, including the long-overdue review of the minimum wage last conducted in 2022. Despite adverse weather conditions, Kenyans made their way to the celebration site at Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens, demonstrating resilience and commitment to the labor movement.