Government has given a three day ultimatum to striking allied workers to return to work or else they will be sucked for absconding from duty.
Allied workers under their umbrellas body , the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) laid down tools accusing government of failure to implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement made in 2017 to have their pay increased.
The strike has seen many patients in government hospitals throughout the country stranded without anyone to attend to them.
However, on Friday, the Minister for Public Service, Wilson Muruuli Mukasa said the strike contravenes the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act 2008 that stipulates that any industrial action must follow a 90 day notes after exhaustion of all the other avenues.
He however noted this was not the case in regards the current strike, urging the striking nurses and other allied workers to return to work by Monday or face dismissal.
“In this regard, government is calling upon all allied professional health workers, nurses and midwives to report to duty by Monday, 30, May, 2022. By failing to do so, they will be considered as having abandoning duty and resigned accordingly, “Minister Mukasa said.
The Public Service Minister directed Chief Administrative Officers and hospital directors to take stock of all health professionals who will not have returned to work by Monday and declare the positions vacant in line with laid down procedures.
Ray of hope
There seemed to be a ray of hope for the striking health professionals after the minister said their enhancements are soon going to be effected.
Minister Muruuli Mukasa told the striking health professionals that after consultations with various stakeholders including the executive, Prime Minister , Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Gender, it was agreed that their pay rise will be effected in the financial year 2022/23.
“This is based on the 2018 pay enhancement plan, the collective bargaining agreement and available resources. Communication of the revised pay structures will follow the statutory procedures through the issuance of the annual salary circular standing instruction to the public service alongside the budget for financial year 2022/23.”
However, it remains to be seen if the nurses and other striking health professionals will heed to the directive by government to lay down tools.