Police officers sue govt over salary cuts
What you need to know:
- The salary cuts were effected last November when the Ministry of Public Service indicated that they had been getting higher salaries by error. Attempts by the affected officers to reverse the Public Service ministry order failed.
More than 170 police officers with law degrees have sued the government for cutting their salaries to the same level as those of social scientists midway through their employment.
The salary cuts were effected last November when the Ministry of Public Service indicated that they had been getting higher salaries by error. Attempts by the affected officers to reverse the Public Service ministry order failed.
On March 15, the High Court Civil Division sent summons to the Attorney General to file his defence in 15 days.
“You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within 15 days from the date of service of summons on you in the manner prescribed under Order 19 Rule 1 civil procedures rules,” the summons signed by the deputy court registrar, read in part.
A copy of the summons was received by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on March 17, according to documents this publication has seen.
Legal officers at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police, who have been earning Shs5.6m per month, are now getting Shs700,000 like any other arts graduate that the police recruited.
The affected legal officers are at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police and above. The affected officers said they got appointment letters indicating that they were legal officers and their salary scale was properly indicated.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, had earlier directed the Ministry of Public Services to solve the pay problem, but it wasn’t done.
Public Service ministry insists that the officers were hired as general duties officers and not legal officers and thus they can’t be paid as legal officers.
The officers have been earning the salary of legal officers for at least nine years.
A police officer, who is one of the complainants, told Sunday Monitor that their intention wasn’t to sue the government they work for, but they have reached out to every concerned person to sort out the problem without getting any positive response.
“We were left with no alternative but to sue the Attorney General so that we are able to force the government to meet its contractual obligations,” one of the officer said.
According to public services standards, lawyers who are hired in different government agencies are supposed to be given the same pay. However, some government agencies interpret regulations differently.
The salary of legal officers in the police has been a thorny issue for years.
In 2008, 35 lawyers in the police, including top police officers, who were earning less than their legal colleagues in public services, sued the government for discrimination in pay.
They won the court case, prompting the government to increase their salaries to the level of other lawyers in public service.
In 2016, some legal officers, who were recruited in the 2013/2014 intake, had their salary cut from Shs1.2m to Shs601,341 after a few months.
They instructed their lawyer, Mr John Isabirye, to seek legal redress.
“Lawyers working with police must be paid the same rate as other lawyers working in government. They (police lawyers) get a payslip indicating Shs1.2m but they earn Shs600,000,” Mr Isabirye said in 2016. After months of talks, the police management paid them salaries at the same scale as other lawyers working for the government.