Local govt workers announce industrial action over salaries

Mr Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service and Mr Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba, secretary of Uganda Local Government Workers. Photos | File 

What you need to know:

  • Through their umbrella body, the Uganda Local Government Workers’ Union (ULGWU), the members accused the government of having a discriminative pay policy in public service.

Local government workers have issued a fresh ultimatum,  to start industrial action on July 6 if the government fails to increase their salaries in this financial year.

Through their umbrella body, the Uganda Local Government Workers’ Union (ULGWU), the members accused the government of having a discriminative pay policy in public service.

This, they say, is contrary to the Constitution, the Employment Act 2006, the Public Service (Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery) Act 2008, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement 2018.

The affected members include parish chiefs, sub-county chiefs, community development officers, chief administrative officers and their deputies, district planners, chief finance officers, town clerks, and all staff under local governments.

Mr Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba, the secretary of ULGWU, yesterday said the wage compression ratio for Uganda, which stands at 1:304 (Shs187,660 as the lowest to Shs45m as the highest), is an insult to them due to the huge tax burden they bear yet the highest paid workers walk away tax-free.

“The union finds this as a maltreatment and discriminatory. It should not be practised by any civilised government,” he said.

Currently, the head of Public Service earns Shs17.6m per month, her deputy gets Shs16.4 million, while permanent secretaries  bag Shs15.4 million.

The lowest ranking local government worker at the level of U8 gets Shs187,000, while the highest ( U1) earns Shs2.4 million.

The union wants the lowest ranking worker to earn Shs1.7m, while the pay for those at the level of CAOs must be raised to Shs15 million.

However, Mr Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service, yesterday said the increments are impossible this financial year because the budget has already been passed.

He said they can only engage the workers and agree with them to wait until 2023/2024 financial year.

“I am sorry there will be disruptions. However, little can be done now since the budget has been passed,” Mr Mukasa said.

But Mr Lwabayi said they have had a long-standing dispute with the government over the matter,  adding that nothing will deter them from demanding what belongs to them.

Mr Lwabayi ruled out negotiations because their efforts to resolve the dispute amicably have been frustrated by the government’s lack of positive cooperation.

“By copy of this letter to the head of Public Service and secretary to the cabinet a 90 days statutory notice to withdraw labour/strike by local government workers union members is thus issued with effect from April 7 and the commencement date of the declared industrial action, withdrawal of labour, and or strike is set for July 6,” the letter reads in part.

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