We will strike but attend to emergencies- Doctors

Medical workers under their umbrella body Uganda Medical workers Association (UMA) were by 10:00am on November 6 holed up in a General meeting in which leadership will communicate resolutions and commitments discussed with the President on October 31.

In their meeting, they said the president agreed the money to pay doctors is actually available citing increased tax collections since 1986 overtime, but he (president) blamed implementers for failing them.

The Doctors say, the meeting will determine whether to continue with the industrial action or not. However, Pauline Byakika the Vice president UMA, says, the strike will only deal with suspension of called services and not emergencies. She reiterates that their profession is about preservation and protection of life and that they take patients life in their best interest.

“If UMA members vote to go on industrial action, we wont withdraw emergency cases immediately”

However, Byakika says in the long run if negotiations fall on deaf ears, they will eventually also call off the emergency services.  UMA says they now demand to have a written document from state house that they can use to follow up for action on their demands with various government ministries.

The demands

As part of their demands, the doctors want government to review salaries which will see an intern doctor have a raised income from the current Shs960,000 before tax to Shs8.5million.

UMA also wants a medical officer or teaching assistant to be paid Shs15 million and accorded a two-bedroom house and a 2.5cc vehicle.

They also propose that a senior consultant doctor or professor be the highest paid health worker with a gross salary of Shs48m plus allowances. These will be accompanied with a five-bedroom house, 4.0cc vehicle, and three domestic workers.

The doctors also want salaries for nurses and midwives enhanced to about Shs6.5 million together with a three-bedroomed house, 2.0cc vehicle and a domestic worker.

Background

The Uganda Medical association held and extra ordinary meeting on the 9th October 2017 coinciding with Uganda’s 55th Independence anniversary and decided to give government up to 30 days to address their demands or go on industrial action.

The 10 am meeting will determine whether doctors go on strike or not. This come sat a time when prosecutors are still continuing with their sit down strike causing paralysis at courts.

In the same period, Ministry of public service says it has completed the new enhanced salary structure for civil servants expected to be implemented in the new financial year 2018 /2019.

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