Tuesday March 11 2014

Health workers, civil servants strike over delayed salaries

By Henry Lubulwa & Issa AligaHenry Lubulwa & Issa Aliga

Health workers and civil servants in Kalangala and Sembabule districts have gone on an indefinite strike over delayed salaries. The workers claim they have not been paid since October last year while others lost their property to banks after they acquired loans in Masaka District.

“We work in hard-to-reach areas where everything like water, food, accommodation and other basic needs are expensive. We cannot live if we are not paid in time because we have to service the loans,” an agricultural officer from Sembambule said.

Mr Edward Banda, a health worker in Kalangala, said they work under poor conditions with poor remuneration. “It is as if we are working for free,” he said.

During a tour of Kalangala recently, the State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Opendi, said medical workers in the area should be given hardship allowance since they are in a remote place.

Ms Opendi said she would cross-check with the ministry of Finance and get back to the health workers on issues relating to salaries, adding that she would ensure all payments are made within one week.

When contacted, the district health officer, Mr Hillary Bitakaramire, said the workers had a genuine concerns but urged them to be patient since the ministry was working on their grievances.