AAR clinics reopen as doctors call off strike

Wednesday May 22 2019

Open. Patients walk in for medical care at AAR

Open. Patients walk in for medical care at AAR Kabalagala branch yesterday. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 


Private clinics under Africa Air Rescue (AAR) Healthcare Uganda resumed operations yesterday after the management heeded to the striking doctors’ demands for salary enhancement.
Eight of the 11 AAR private clinics closed last Friday after doctors laid down their tools, protesting low pay compared to their counterparts in other private and public hospitals.
Following a meeting with management on Monday, the doctors agreed to return to work.

“The purpose of this collective agreement between the employer and the employee is to mutually agree on satisfactory working relations between the employer and its employees, establish and maintain its rates of pay and conditions of employment, to provide appropriate procedures for prompt resolution of grievances and problems and to recognise the mutual value of joint discussion, consultation and negotiation,” the collective agreement between both parties reads in part.

The doctors, who receive between Shs1.9m and Shs2.1m net salary were demanding at least Shs3m net salary, while the part-time doctors wanted their current pay of Shs12,000 per hour revised to Shs15,000 per hour.
Under the collective agreement, entry salary for doctors shall be gross of Shs3.8m and net of Shs2.5m.

On the other hand, management agreed to pay part time doctors Shs13,000 per hour and specialised doctors will be paid 50 per cent of the consultation fees in line with the respective insurance companies.
Although salary adjustments are slightly lower than the earlier demands, one of the doctors said they accepted the terms to allow services to resume as talks with management for better working conditions continue.
“For me it was not even about the salary increment alone but even the way things are handled such as threatening doctors whenever they demand for better terms,” said the doctor who did not want to disclose his identity.

Mr Indren Pooven, the AAR chief executive director, said on Sunday that they had taken long to adjust the staff salaries because the Group’s board needed more information before the approval. AAR Healthcare Uganda Limited is a subsidiary of AAR Healthcare Holdings Limited operating in East Africa.
The doctors had also complained that the Shs15,000 given to specialists per patient is too little compared to the Shs50,000-Shs80,000 paid by patients.