Kenya:Court frees striking doctors after 2-days behind bars

The secretary general of the Kenyan Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KPMDU), Dr. Ouma Oluga (L), its chairman, Dr. Samuel Oroko (C), and vice chairman Dr. Allan Ochanji are led away in handcuffs on February 13, 2017

Seven Kenyan doctors jailed by a High Court for refusing to call off a labour action have been freed by an Appeals Court after spending 2 out of their 30-day jail term.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered the release of the doctors to enable them to continue negotiations with the government. Their industrial action, which started in December 2016 has paralyzed the public health sector.

The jailed doctors are, Daisy Korir, Evelyne Chege, Ouma Oluga, Samuel Oroko, Allan Ochanji, Mwachonda Chibanzi and Titus Ondoro.

The government on Tuesday joined calls for their release. The medical association had earlier said negotiations was impossible for as long as their leaders remained locked up. Practitioners in the private sector also joined with a solidarity strike announced on Tuesday.

The public sector medics last month rejected a 40% pay rise offer from the government, demanding the full implementation of a 2013 collective bargaining agreement.

The union, which has about 5,000 members, wants the government to implement a deal agreed in 2013. Under the deal, doctors are supposed to have between 150-180 percent pay rise on basic salaries; review of their working conditions, job structures and criteria for promotions; and address under-staffing in hospitals.

By Africafrique and agencies

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