Uganda’s Nurses and midwives under their umbrella body Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) have declared an emergency strike over lunch allowances estimated at Shs70b until the money is included in the 2021/2022 financial year budget.
The strike comes at a time when the country gears up for the President’s Inauguration set for May 12th next week, under the theme “Securing your future”.
In a letter dated May 4, 2021, seen by this website, UNMU President Mr. Justus Cherop Kiplangat says on various occasions, the government convinced them that they should not strike because they would put their money for lunch in the next budget of 2021 effective July 2021.
“You will recall that we wrote a letter on October 1, 2020, to government calling for a strike on December 31, 2020, over lunch allowances which we had been promised by President Museveni on various occasions…,” Mr Kiplangat said in the letter.
However, to their dismay, the government has come out to, say that, the lunch allowance for nurses and midwives of this country is an unfunded priority and thus they shall not get it this financial year.
“The purpose of this letter is to inform and request you that we as the National Executive Committee (NEC) have immediately decided to go on an emergency strike invoking our letter of October 2020 which was indicating that we would have gone on strike on 31. December 2020,” the letter reads in part.
In February, the nurses and midwives called off their planned strike after government promised to give them Shs70 billion for lunch allowance.
Mr Kiplangat said they have never received their lunch allowances since 2018. Each nurse and midwife is supposed to receive 15,000 per day according to the union.
“..We Wish to hereby invoke the same letter and call all nurses and midwives of Uganda to rally behind us and we go on strike immediately effective midnight of 5. May 2021,” added the letter.
“Please stay home until our money for lunch allowance is included in the National Budget of 2021/20022. We shall be grateful if you listen and adhere to the call” reads part of the letter.
Nurses and midwives are currently getting 2000 shillings as their daily allowance but in the agreement they reached with the government, the money will be increased to 15000 shillings.
This would mean that it would cost government shs126 billion in a year for the 24500 nurses and midwives in government hospitals.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, directed us to the Ministry of Public Service as well as Ministry of Finance.
Mr Jim Mugunga, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, said the budgeting process is still ongoing.
He advised the nurses and midwives to engage them through the process that includes relevant parliament committees instead of denying services to the population they vowed to serve.