Striking Doctors demands are unaffordable and Crazy, says SRC

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has strongly criticized the ongoing strike by doctors demanding the government to fulfill the Collective Bargaining Agreement inked in 2017. This protracted strike by doctors employed in public hospitals, which commenced in mid-March, has inflicted considerable hardship on vulnerable Kenyans reliant on public healthcare services.

The Commission has asserted that the demands put forth by the striking doctors are unjustifiable, financially unsustainable, and lacking in equity.

SRC, responsible for advising both national and county governments on the compensation and perks of public officials, emphasized the prevailing salary structures across various sectors. Chairperson Lyn Mengich highlighted that state corporations and similar entities typically operate within the 60th to 75th percentile range. Conversely, doctors predominantly find themselves at the topmost percentile, with a significant portion positioned at the 100th percentile. This places them at the apex of the market, with civil servants trailing at the 32nd percentile, notably below the 40th percentile mark.

Mengich, speaking at a recent media briefing in Nairobi preceding the upcoming third Wage Bill Conference, underscored the impracticality of honoring the 2017 CBA in light of the government’s fiscal constraints. She cautioned against repeating past mistakes and advocated for a sustainable approach that prioritizes fiscal feasibility, equity, and fairness.

President William Ruto has urged the striking healthcare workers to resume their duties, citing the government’s financial limitations. Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria proposed centralizing CBA negotiations to ensure uniformity across professions, aiming to eliminate disparities arising from profession-specific CBAs.

Regarding the payment of medical interns, Kuria emphasized the impracticality of compensating all 58,000 applicants for the 8,600 advertised positions at the rate of Sh45,000 each. According to SRC recommendations, intern doctors should receive salaries ranging from Sh47,000 to Sh70,000.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore implored medical practitioners to engage in dialogue to resolve the ongoing impasse, acknowledging the critical role doctors play in delivering healthcare services to Kenyans.