Doctors have nothing to celebrate – KMPDU SG Atellah says on Labour Day

As the nation celebrates the struggle for workers and the gains made in achieving labour rights, workers in the healthcare sector are still finding it hard to wear a grin.

Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General has said that the union lacks a reason to join other workers to celebrate as the government has not honored their demands which has occasioned a month-long strike.

“There is nothing to celebrate as doctors because we are in pain, frustrated, disillusioned and we have no hope when we are being forced to suffer and stay at home because agreements are not honoured and violated in open daylight,” he said speaking to Citizen Digital.

Doctors abandoned hospital wards on March 14 and took to the streets, calling on the government to meet demands that have crippled the seamless delivery of services in the healthcare sector.

Atellah vowed to maintain the strike until the 2017 Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA), where a wage agreement was inked, is honored.

“Doctors are not on strike for fun they have been pushed out of work. The government has out rightly decided to violate an agreement that was signed with doctors. They don’t value them (doctors), they don’t care whether they are there or not,” noted Atellah.

“The strike can go on for as long as one year until the government is ready to comply with the agreement that we had. We cannot be part of promoting impunity.”

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) Chairperson Peterson Wachira echoed Atellah’s remarks, noting that doctors yearn to return to the wards only when the government heeds their demands.

“A strike is frustrating to patients and also to the union. A strike is not something we like, in fact the most comfortable place for us is with our patients,” said Wachira.

Amid what he terms as “emasculation” by the state on the rights of health workers, Wachira stated that the Labour Day fete will act as a pedestal to further their call for equity in the national labour workforce.

“It is from the push for the labour rights that we are even able to strike and we can be able to negotiate. It won’t be more of a celebration it will be more of that strife and agitation so that those rights are upheld,” he said.

In his speech, President William Ruto is expected to address the main challenges facing the Kenyan workforce among them the minimum wage increment was last reviewed in 2022.


As of Wednesday morning, Kenyans braved the rains and made their way to the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi where the celebration will be held.

Courtesy of CitizenTV.

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Evelyne Wanyonyi

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