Kenyan doctors given another five days to end strike

 26 Jan 2017 - 12:11

Kenyan doctors given another five days to end strike
Kenyan doctors march during a strike to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Reuters / Thomas Mukoya

AFP

Nairobi: A Kenyan court on Thursday gave doctors and nurses five days to end a crippling nationwide strike, reneging on an earlier threat to jail union officials.

The strike that began on December 5 has left public hospitals shut and patients unable to get basic medical care for more than seven weeks.

Hellen Wasilwa, a judge at Kenya's Employment and Labour Relations Court, on January 12 gave seven union officials one-month suspended sentences and ordered them to end the strike within two weeks. 

But as that ultimatum passed on Thursday she gave the officials another five-day reprieve.

"I hereby suspend the sentence further for five days and this is not for negotiation but for calling off the strike," she said.

The officials are due back in court on January 31.

Doctors have rejected a government offer of a 40 percent rise saying that it fell short of promises made in a 2013 agreement and failed to address other issues such as staff shortages and lack of equipment.

Kenyan university lecturers also went on strike a week ago over pay.

The widespread, disruptive industrial action comes months before an August general election.