After teachers strike, governemnt should adress doctors grievances and stop using threats

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Politics/Current issues
The three weeks long teachers strike finally came to an end the other day after the government gave in to the teachers demand and agreed to offer them a whooping 13.5 billion shillings. The strike had brought everything to a stand in all public schools across the country with students having to sit home. Yet again, another industrial action is taking place, this time round with the doctors.
 
One thing to watch out is the manner in which the government is always handling these strikes. Threats to sack striking workers has always been the way forward for the government but in the end the government has always gave in to the workers demands. The teachers strike for example the education minister, Mutula Kilonzo threatened to send all teachers parking if they did not resume work. Failure to which the government would in place employ 10,000 teachers who have completed their training, any retired teacher below 65 years would also be reabsorbed among other measures.
 
This is the same case with how the medical services minister is addressing the doctors’ strike.  The minister said he was sacking the 293 striking registrars and interns. The minister has always gone to the extent of stopping salaries and allowances of all striking doctors.  The doctors are staying out to their demands, dismissing Nyon’gos’ move. The doctors, under the leadership of the Kenyan Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Board secretary General Were Onyino say they are working to shut down health services at all public hospitals.
 
In the meantime, the person who is going is to suffer is the patient, just like the students who stayed home for three weeks.  Already, cases are being reported of patients dying and suffering in public hospitals because there are no doctors to attend to them. Is the government going to sit down and wait for more death cases to be reported and use threats and finally come up with a solution?
 
The government has always been seen playing hardball with striking workers when handling them. A move which has always left poor Kenyans who cannot access private facilities suffer a great deal.
 
Strikes are not foreseen and the government should put in mechanisms to ensure that whenever they occur, they are handled with the urgency they deserve. Treasury should consider setting aside funds during the next budgetary allocations, which can be used to address such emergent issues. The effects industrial actions have always had on the countrys economy have always been devastating. 
 
After the teachers strike the government should work towards addressing the doctors’ grievances without intimidating them. The minister should stop playing hardball with the doctors at the expense of Kenyans health. 
 
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi
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