Nurses under their umbrella body, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) are demanding for a 400 percent salary increment and allowances totalling to Shs 9 million each. The nurses are threatening to lay down their tools if their request is not met within the next seven days.
The Union, an independent entity working to safeguard the professional, social and organizational interests of nurses and midwives fronted the demand through a letter to the permanent secretary Ministry of Public Service.
The letter is copied to the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.
Paul Henry Bukenya, the union's secretary general says that the 400 percent increment will raise the salary of the lowest paid nurse to Shs 2.5 million. He says that the Shs 9 million allowance will cover the cost of housing, risk, medical, responsibility, transport, transfer, leave, funeral and overtime for each member.
"The members noted that salaries for nurses and midwives be increased by 400 percent effective with the lowest cadre in nursing earning 2,500,000," the letter signed by Bukenya reads.
He says the position to lay down tools was agreed upon in a consultative meeting held on November 23.
"The members, therefore, demanded that government gives its position about increment of nurses and midwives salaries and the implementation of the new schemes of services for nurses and midwifery within seven days. Failure for the government to comply, the nurses and midwives will lay down their tools by December 5, 2017," the letter further says.
Bukenya says the salaries of nurses and midwives are inadequate to meet their basic needs such as accommodation, food, transport, medical fee and also their support families.
He further notes that government recently pledged to increase salaries of doctors but "nothing was mentioned about nurses and midwives."
Medical doctors called off their strike a fortnight ago after the government promised to pay a starting doctors Shs 5 million effective next financial year.
The nurses condemned and distanced themselves from doctors' strike. The National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) together with Uganda Medical Workers Union, and Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union sued medical doctors for calling an illegal strike. The nurses' unions later pulled out of the case saying they had not been consulted by NOTU.
According to the Ministry of Public Service salary scale releases early this year, nurses classified from salary scale U7 to U4 earn between Uganda Shs 400,000 and Shs 700,000.