According to the government, the nurses and midwives did not exhaust all avenues of conciliation, arbitration or dispute settlement as stated in Section 8 of the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act of 2008.
The ongoing nurses and midwives strike is
illegal. This is according to the Ministry of Public Service.
declaration comes after nurses and midwives under their union, the Uganda
Nurses and Midwives Council on Tuesday laid down their tools due to the
government's failure to reveal their salary increment in the next financial
According to the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative, and Disputes
Settlement Machinery Act of 2008, public servants are supposed to give a 90-day
notice before laying down their tools. During these 90 days, the union is
supposed to meet with employers to find a way of addressing the demands of
those affected without going on strike.
The Minister of Public
Service, Muruli Mukasa says that the nurses and midwives did not exhaust all
possible avenues of resolving their pending strike before they laid down their
given health workers two days to report to work or seek employment elsewhere.
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The minister directed
all heads of hospitals to register all the names of the health workers who will
not have returned to work on Monday.
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In addition to not carrying out mediation meetings with the government, the
nurses and midwives are being accused of abandoning their stations. According
to the law, during a strike essential services like healthcare are not supposed
to be interrupted during a strike.
Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development says some
nurses who were not interested in joining the strike are being threatened. She
says this has left the health sector understaffed severely.
requested the midwives union to allow nurses interested in going back to work
to do so. According to her some nurses at big hospitals like Mulago National
Referral Hospital are being threatened not to go back to work.
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urged all health workers to remain patient as the government is working towards
fulfilling all pending salary enhancement promises.
"We have heard
various engagements with the unions and ministries and the topic has been
salary enhancements. And we have had some progress. It is no longer what it was
in 2027, we have had some progress. The issue of salary enhancements has been
budgeted for in the 2023/2024 budget and this will affect all health workers
even sweepers in hospitals," he added.
Justus Kiplangat Cherop,
the union leader of the Uganda Midwives and Nurses Union however remains
adamant that they will not call off the strike.
Cherop, their strike is legal and will continue until the government can reveal
what pay rise they will receive in the next financial year.
Cherop, they will continue striking until the government gives them the
information that they need.
advised my people but they want money. We shall remain on strike until the
government reveals how much we shall earn, we shall remain on strike. Even if
we lose our jobs it's okay," he added.
Mukasa declined to comment on why the government
has failed to reveal the salary.