Sunday April 15 2018

Nurses' Union threatens another sit down strike

Nurses' Union threatens another sit down strike

The leaders of Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union and National Organization of Trade Unions addressing journalists in Kampala on April 15, 2018. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA  

By Stephen Wandera

The Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union has rejected the proposed new government salary increment for nurses saying it is not what was agreed upon with the president
In November last year, President Museveni met with leaders of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union over poor working conditions over demands for salary increment.

The Union proposed to the president that the salaries of enrolled nurses and midwives should be increased from Shs400,000 to Shs1 million.
After the discussions, Mr Museveni ordered the Public Service and Finance ministries to deal with the demands of the nurses and midwives.

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Mr Justus Cherop, the President of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, says they were surprised when they learnt that the new salary structures released by government had ignored their proposals.

They say considering their poor working conditions, the authorities must take their concerns very seriously.
"The salary increase is too little to match our expectations. We want the lowest rank of a nursing officer to get Shs1 million. Government should also give us lunch, housing and transport allowances,” Mr Cherop said.
The nurses’ leaders have threatened to call for a sit down strike if government does not address their concerns.

"We are warning [David] Bahati (the state minister of finance). If he insists we shall camp in Kabale. Government has the money and we know where the money is. When politicians need money, it is released in two hours, but when it's workers who generate the money, government says it doesn’t have it. This time we shall not accept that," said the NOTU Chairman General, Mr Usher Wilson Owere.

However, Frank Tumwebaze, the Information Minister has dissuaded them from striking and called for patience.
The minister says government cannot increase their salaries at once but it will be done annually.
According to a government paper, other public servants who benefited from salary enhancement included Directors of General Health Services, Science teachers, police and prisons officers in lower ranks.

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