Nurses Call Off Planned Strike Following “Positive Response” from Govt 

Trainee nurses at Mulago School of Nursing sit down in protest of poor sanitation and power outages in 2013 (Photo by Racheal Mabala)

Nurses under the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) have called off a strike that they were scheduled to start tonight at midnight, following a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni on Monday.

While speaking to NBS television moments after meeting the President, Paul Bukenya, the Secretary General of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union, described the response by government to the demands by the Union as “positive”.

He further appealed to the nurses across Uganda to resume their duties as engagements on both sides continue.

“Government has given us a lot of support and we shall make sure that the planned strike which was scheduled for tomorrow is suspended to give room for negotiations,” Bukenya said.

“Now that government has responded positively to our demands, I urge all nurses and midwives to go back to their duty stations as we continue engaging government in as far as salary enhancement is concerned,” said a seemingly pleased Bukenya.

He revealed that government has committed to look through the issue of lunch allowances saying that the President was shocked to learn that their allowance had been a paltry Shs 66,000.

Nurses and midwives recently threatened to declare an industrial action if government did not consider enhancing their salaries improving their working conditions and also, implementing the Schemes of Services for Nursing ad Midwifery that were drafted 5 years by the Ministry of Public Service.

Bukenya further said that President Museveni pledged to create a Fund for the Union where nurses and midwives will save and borrow money. They have also been promised that the Schemes of Service (which were meant to be the basis for revision of their salaries) will be implemented effective tomorrow, Tuesday.

“As far as salary enhancement is concerned, government has given us up to Saturday to give us the final update. I’m very happy that government has listened to our demands and offered to support. We have worked in solidarity,”added Bukenya.

The botched strike comes at a time when doctors under Uganda Medical Association (UMA) suspended a three weeks long strike until December 15, pending fulfillment of government pledges.

The Minister of Public Service, Muruli Mukasa who attended the same meeting told NBS TV that Cabinet is convening an extraordinary meeting this Saturday to discuss the report by the Salary Review Commission and release the final salary structure for public servants across the board.

“It’s today that we submitted the Salary Review Commission report to Cabinet and it was discussed the whole day. The final discussion is what’s going to happen on Saturday and a report will come out to the public,” the Minister said.

With the continuous strikes by health workers in the country, the plight of patients who can barely afford private healthcare hangs in balance.

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