Hardly a week after medical doctors suspended their three-week strike over pay, nurses and midwives have issued a one-week ultimatum to government to raise their salaries and better their working conditions or they down their tools.
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The nurses and midwives did not participate in the doctors’ strike, saying it was illegal but in a November 27 letter to the Ministry of Public Service, the health workers under the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNWU) have unanimously agreed to stage industrial action if their pay is not increased.
“Following a consultative meeting with nurses and midwives on November 23, 2017, members resolved that government increase their salary and allowances by 400 per cent effective with lowest cadre in nursing earning Shs2.5 million,” reads a letter signed by Mr Paul Bukenya Henry, the General Secretary, UNMU.
It is also copied to the Prime Minister, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Commissioner Nursing.
Ms Annet Birungi, the National Treasurer UNMU, said nurses and midwives spend longer hours with patients than doctors yet they are paid peanuts.
“Just make a survey at Mulago Hospital; a doctor comes, spends two hours and is out to his private work in other hospitals and clinics. It is us and medical doctors on internship who are always in wards treating patients being higher risk of contracting diseases,” she said.
Mr Wilson Owere, the secretary general of the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) urged UNMU members to remain steadfast in their salary demands.
“It is high time workers are paid well. We do not care where the money is coming from. I call upon you to be strong,” Mr Owere told the nurses and midwives during a meeting at Mulago yesterday.
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