Friday October 13 2017

Government to striking workers: Resign or go back to work

Public service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa

Public service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa 

By Agencies

Any civil servant who refuses to work over poor pay should resign.

That is the stern warning public service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa delivered Friday in response to striking prosecutors and threats by medics and Makerere University academics to also go on strike.

State prosecutors under their umbrella body, Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP), resumed the strike on Monday after the lapse of the 90-day ultimatum given to government to address their grievances. They are demanding that the minimum salary of the lower ranking officials in the judiciary be raised to at least Shs9 million. Currently, the lowest ranking State Prosecutor earns a gross salary of Shs645,000.

The government had committed to increasing salaries of state prosecutors days after they laid down their tools in July. In the commitment, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Maj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire promised that the increment would be effected in three months through a supplementary budget to be passed by parliament. However, the pledges were not applied triggering another round of industrial action.

Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Mr Mukasa said any civil servant who refuses to work over poor pay or absconds from duty would invoke the wrath of the government.

The minister said although it is not the interest of the government to sack any civil servant, it would invoke provisions of the public service standing orders to deal with striking civil servants who would refuse to work.

The minister further said the government is coming out with harmonized and rationalized salaries and emoluments of civil and public servants by the end of November and would come into effect in financial year 2018/19.

He appealed to the striking prosecutors to resume work since the matter is under review.

On why government reneged on its promise three months ago to enhance the judicial workers within 90 days, Muruli Mukasa said government felt it necessary to enhance pay of civil and public servants across the board.

State Minister of Finance David Bahati said that there’s a lot of distortions in public service pay, with drivers in some agencies earning more than permanent secretaries, saying that the trend is unsustainable.

Mr Bahati says that the salary disparities bring unnecessary quarrels, adding that instead of being piece-meal they want a comprehensive review to generate, as a clear salary structure. He said the new salary structure will address issues like inflation, rising cost of living, qualifications and experience, which will feed into the gross and take home salary.