CBAs do not expire, Sifuna tells the gov’t

ODM Party Sec Gen Edwin Sifuna. The party has fined 16 rebellious MCAs sh.10 million for gross misconduct./COURTESY

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has called on the government to honor and implement the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement signed with doctors.

Speaking after a plenary session with Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha on Wednesday, Sen. Sifuna said a CBA does not expire unless and until a new one is registered with the Labour and Employment Court.

“When a government comes in and finds an agreement in place, it is the responsibility of that government to honor those agreements,” said Sifuna.

The Nairobi Senator questioned the criteria the government was using in choosing which arrangements from the previous governments to execute.

“In the morning you heard the CS for Defense say that he continued with the work at Uhuru Park because he found that arrangement in place even though he admitted that was an illegal move. So the illegal ones this government is happy to continue with them, but the ones that make sense, the legal ones, registered even in accordance with the law they decide not to execute?” questioned Sifuna.

He also questioned how knowledgeable CS Nakhumicha was in matters of CBA.

“I wanted to ask the Health CS whether she understands and whether the government understands the sanctity of a CBA. It is an agreement you have entered into on your own volition, nobody has forced you, and once you sign a document, Mr. Speaker, the law is that you cannot run away from agreements you have gotten into yourself,” he added.

Sifuna had earlier registered his embarrassment with the Senate for what he termed as squandering the opportunity to put serious questions to the Health CS during the plenary session.

“Mr. Speaker, it is the position that on the 27th of March, the delegation of government walked out negotiation with the doctors. Since the 27th of March, there has been no further meeting between the ministry and the doctors because the ministry insists that doctors give up that one right they have, the right to go on strike so that a conversation can be had,” he said.

The medics strike is entering its sixth week and the doctors have raised 19 grievances with the top most being the immediate posting of medical interns and the settlement of salary arrears per the collective bargaining agreement.