Local govt staff insist on downing tools this week

ULGWU general secretary Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba and public service minister Muruli Mukasa (R). PHOTO/COMBO

What you need to know:

  • The workers say the government has not honoured the 2018 agreement to increase salaries for all public servants.

Local government workers have vowed to commence their industrial action on Wednesday if government fails to meet their demands of enhancing their salaries.

This was after Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU) alongside other public service labour unions said the government has not honoured the 2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in which it pledged to increase salaries for all public servants.

“The Conference (Union) resolved to have a strike with effect from midnight of July 6, 2022,” Mr Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba, the general secretary of ULGWU, noted in a July 1 statement.

“We have taken all steps to engage government with a view to peacefully resolving this dispute in vain. And a statutory 90-day notice was issued to government, as the law requires, on April 7, 2022, and it is expiring on July 6, 2022, midnight,’’ Mr Mudiba added.

The intention of the CBA, Mr Mudiba said, was to address salary disparities within the public service.

“We have the same qualifications, we work the same hours a day, working process standards and procedures are the same and above all we go in the same market for food, housing, transport, medical just to mention a few,” he said.

Among his recommendations, Mr Mudiba insisted that the government implements salary enhancement in accordance with the CBDA together with the accrued arrears.

The Union wants entry point employees and other support staff, including attendants, to earn Shs1.7m, while the pay for those at the level of chief administrative officers (CAOs) be raised to Shs15 million from Shs2.3m.

However, in a rejoinder statement, also issued on July 1, Mr Benon Matwire, the general secretary of Uganda Government and Allied Workers Union (UGAWU), called Mr Mudiba a masquerader for claiming to be uniting workers in ministries and districts yet UGAWU was there before him (playing the same role).  

Mr Matwire then asked Mr Mudiba to withdraw the previous letter he authored on June 30 that also touched on the issue of salaries and threatening to take industrial action.

“I ask the Ministry of Public Service and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to investigate how he came to register the Local Government Workers Union,” Mr Matwire concluded in the statement. 

The threat by local government workers comes at a time when Arts teachers are currently on strike over discriminatory salary enhancement, which has favoured their colleagues teaching science subjects.

The government argued that science teachers contribute more towards the transformation of the economy, a statement that has irked those teaching Arts.

In this financial year, the salary for a degree holder science teacher will increase to Shs4 million, up from Shs1.2 million, while a diploma holder science teacher will earn Shs3m, slightly triple the current pay.

Meanwhile, the monthly salary of an Arts teacher will remain at Shs1,080,000 while their diploma-holder counterparts teaching in secondary schools will get Shs795,000.
Primary school Sciences and Arts teachers, on the other hand, earn about a monthly salary of Shs560,000 before tax.

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