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COTU boss Atwoli comes to doctors’ rescue as court yet again suspends jail term for officials

Atwoli and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) pleaded with Employment and Labour Relations Judge Hellen Wasilwa to offer the doctors and the government a seven day window to strike a deal.

COTU boss Francis Atwoli and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) pleaded with Employment and Labour Relations Judge Hellen Wasilwa to offer the doctors and the government a seven day window to strike a deal.

Atwoli and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) on Friday pleaded with Employment and Labour Relations Judge Hellen Wasilwa to offer the doctors and the government a seven day window to strike a deal.

The judge agreed to their request and suspended the jail sentence for a period of seven days.

She also gave COTU and KNCHR the authority to lead the talks between the doctors union and the government.

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Atwoli told the judge that he had never lost a mediation case, and hoped he would not lose this one.

However the judge warned that her patience had run out and it was unlikely that she will again suspend their jail term should the involved parties fail to reach an agreement before February 13.

Suspended sentences

Atwoili said that COTU had chosen not to join the talks earlier because it wanted to allow the parties involved to settle the matter on their own.

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However, the ultimatum passed and further gave them another five-day reprieve.

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.

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.

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