What you need to know:
The issue: Industrial action
Our view: Surely, since these grievances are raised over and over again, there has got to be a way to break the cycle. Anticipate and deal with them before thy happen. The powers that be keep acting shocked, caught off-guard and many times even play victim to the striking workers, which is to say the least, ridiculous. We can do better, we must plan better.
Do government workers have to first strike before their grievances are attended to by the powers that be? Is there no other way the system can run without industrial action always being part of the annual work cycle for workers? Are there no preemptive and preventive measures that can be employed to deter looming strikes? Is it that these are used and they fail to deter strikes or are they not a matter of concern until the strikes happen? Is this the only approach to guarantee salary increment? The only language that government understands or at least pays attention to?
ALSO READ: Science teachers start nationwide pay strike
These and many more are questions that come to mind every time industrial action, especially by government workers is announced. It is now part of annual calendar for government workers to strike or threaten to strike. At the moment, science teachers are on strike and have vowed not to return to class until the government commits in writing, to increase their salaries.
They want the Public Service ministry to implement the August 24, 2021 presidential directive and Cabinet resolutions of enhancing salaries for all scientists to Shs4m for the newly-appointed degree holders and Shs3m for diploma holders.
A day after the strike started, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, said Cabinet had approved Shs735b to enhance salaries for scientists. The teachers however want these commitments in writing citing past empty promises.
And as if that is not enough, arts and humanities’ teachers, have also joined the strike to send a message to the government that the increment should cut across and that all teachers matter.
(See Daily Monitor of May 12, “Teachers, govt clash over salary increment promises”).
Just last month, medical workers threatened to lay down their tools if government failed to raise their salary to the expected level and reabsorb more than 700 Covid-19 medical workers who were recently fired although the doctors later called off the planned strike because of what they called, “a positive signal from the government over the pay rise demands.” This of course coming on the backdrop of the doctors’ and medical interns’ almost month-long strike late last year still over low pay and welfare issues.
Needless to say, these will not be the last strikes we witness this year. Which begs the above questions again. Surely, since these grievances are raised over and over again, there has got to be a way to break the cycle. Anticipate and deal with them before thy happen.
The powers that be keep acting shocked, caught off-guard and many times even play victim to the striking workers, which is to say the least, ridiculous. We can do better, we must plan better.
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