by Chris Mgidu
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan Appeals
Court on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of the seven
officials of the doctors’ union jailed on Monday pending
determination of their case.
Appellate Judges Wanjiru
Karanja, Hannah Okwengu and Jamilla Mohamed said return-to-work
negotiations should take place over seven days and that the
parties will return to court on Feb. 23.
The order was issued following an application by a team of
lawyers representing the doctors to set the seven union
officials free to allow for the stalled negotiations to resume.
The talks to be spearheaded by rights group, the Kenya
National Human Rights Commission and Law Society of Kenya (LSK),
are to come up with a report aimed at calling off the strike
that has lasted 73 days and has been joined by private doctors.
The seven Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and
Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials were jailed for 30 days on
Monday by the Employment and Labour Relations Court for contempt
of court orders, which required them to end the strike that had
been declared illegal.
However, the doctors who have been on strike since December
5, 2016, had pleaded with the judge to suspend the sentence to
allow them more time to negotiate with the government.
The standoff between the KMPDU and the government continues
with union officials maintaining a hard-liner stance, refusing
to call off the strike until the 2013 Collective Bargaining
Agreement (CBA) is fully implemented.
KMPDU is demanding a 300-percent salary increase for its
members as agreed in the CBA, which will see the lowest-paid
doctor earn 3,450 U.S. dollars while the highest earn 9,450
The government offered a 500 dollar or 40-percent increase
for the lowest-paid doctors, which has been rejected by union
The doctors said the industrial action was occasioned by
three-year industrial dispute concerning the CBA signed on June
27, 2013 and effective July 1, 2013.
They accuse the government of failing to show any good will
in the negotiation process but instead threatening them with law
Kenyan court jails striking doctors’
union officials for 30 days