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We Won’t Be Scapegoats For Wage Bill Reduction While Other State Officials Enjoy Hefty Perks, KMPDU Shoots Down Ruto’s Plea

KMPDU has rallied doctors, medical interns and students to join nationwide peaceful demonstrations on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

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Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacist and Dentist Union Secretary General Dr Davji Bhimji Atellah

Despite receiving a tongue-lashing from President William Ruto, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) made it clear that doctors will not back down from conducting protests that has now spanned to its third week.

Striking doctors have vowed to stay put until the government fully honours the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

In a statement on Sunday, April 7, the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General, Davji Atellah, lambasted President William Ruto following his declaration that the government was unable to meet their demands over lack of funds.

Ruto had urged doctors to understand that there is a limit to what the government can spend on their salaries and allowances.

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Saying the government values the work doctors and interns play in the health sector, the President pointed out that the country cannot continue to live beyond its means.

“The resources we have are only sufficient to pay Ksh70,000 for intern doctors. This is not a salary; it is a stipend for only one year. Afterwards, they will be employed,” he said.

The President explained that the government has the funds needed to absorb all the 1,500 doctor interns at Ksh70,000 a month.

He made remarks on Sunday during church service at  Africa Inland Church (AIC) Fellowship Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county. He was accompanied by First Lady Rachel Ruto.

President Ruto said the government is working towards reducing the country’s wage bill, which currently stands at 47 per cent, to the legal requirement of 35 per cent.

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“We are spending KSh1.1 trillion of the KSh2.2 trillion revenue we collect every year to pay salaries and allowances. This is way above what we should be spending on salaries,” he said.

“As a nation, we must agree that we must live within our means. We cannot continue to spend the money we do not have,” he added.

Dr. Atella in his rejoinder said doctors will not back down nor accept being scapegoats for wage bill reduction adding that their salaries which are anchored on CBA are non-negotiable.

“As Doctors, we refuse to be scapegoats for wage bill reduction. Our salaries, vital like any Kenyan’s, are based on fair agreements. Despite government pressure, doctors’ salaries, anchored on CBA, are non-negotiable”.

The union said it will not compromise on fair compensation for their members’ hard work.

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“It’s unjust to target us for wage bill control while state officers enjoy hefty paychecks. We stand united against exploitation” he stated.

The doctors who went on strike on March 15 paralysing operations in public hospitals are now challenging the government to show goodwill by fully implementing the seven-year pay deal.

“The CBA is a sacrosanct document whose full implementation is the first sign of goodwill from the employer. Its belittling and dismissal will always invite the wrath of workers anywhere in the world!” KMPDU said on X.

The doctors’ strike which is in its third week has crippled health services in public hospitals across the country. Clinicians have also downed their tools demanding better pay and improved working conditions.

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The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) last week turned down a Ksh2.4 billion government offer.

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The officials vowed to stay put until the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is fully honoured.

KMPDU has rallied doctors, medical interns and students to join nationwide peaceful demonstrations on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.


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