NAIROBI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government and the council of governors on Monday threatened to sack all striking doctors who will not have resumed work by Wednesday.
Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya said all vacant positions will be advertised and new graduate doctors will be recruited to restore services in public hospitals if the doctors fail to turn up for work.
Mailu said the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) requiring the national and county governments to raise their salary by 300 percent is not tenable and urged the doctor's union to accept the government's offer of 40 percent as was tabled last week.
The doctors on Friday rejected a 40-percent salary rise offer which was tabled by President Uhuru Kenyatta and demanded full implementation of the CBA.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU)'s National Advisory Council said the government's offer did not match the CBA which was signed in 2013.
"The government had offered an increase in allowances to end this doctors' strike. The union officials today presented that offer to the doctors for deliberations and they humbly rejected it," KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga said.
"The doctors have instructed the leaders of our union to continue with the strike till the CBA is implemented," Oluga said.
The government offered to increase salary for the lowest-paid doctors by over 550 U.S. dollars, which would raise their salaries to over 1,950 dollars from 1,400 dollars.
Mailu stressed the government offer is still on the table. "The increment we were giving from January this year's still stand and no victimization of doctors," Mailu said.
Mailu said the government has agreed to implement 80 percent of what doctors demanded in the CBA, with the main contentious issue being the section requiring a 300-percent pay increment.
Mailu said the striking doctors had not "moved an inch" toward reconciliation.
"We know the strike is illegal. Flouting the law is not the way to solve the problems," Mailu said.
Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya also criticized the doctors for rejecting the government offer and said both the national and county governments are considering absorbing graduates to take up vacant positions.
He said public service boards have been instructed to begin the processes of firing striking doctors, adding they also have permission to recover money that may have been paid to those who have not been working.
Munya said both governments will not wait for a solution any longer, since the doctor's union has remained adamant despite the national government giving them "one of the most reasonable offer."
The standoff between public hospital doctors and the government has pushed thousands of low-income patients to flock ill-equipped clinics as they had no cash to visit high-cost private facilities.