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Local gov’t workers announce July 6 industrial action

By Our Reporter.

Local government workers have issued a fresh ultimatum,  to start industrial action on July 6, 2022 if the government fails to increase their salaries in this financial year.

Through their umbrella body, the Uganda Local Government Workers’ Union (ULGWU), the members accused the government of having a discriminative pay policy in public service.

The union said discriminatory pay policy, is contrary to the Constitution, the Employment Act 2006, the Public Service (Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery) Act 2008, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement 2018.

This development comes  two months after Local government workers in Uganda  issued a 90 days statutory notice to the Ministry of Public Service to implement terms enshrined in the 2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between government and Public Service unions, or face industrial action.

In a notice to the Minister Public Service dated April 7, 2021  which was  signed by Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU) General Secretary Mr Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba, the workers castigated government for discriminative pay policy.

They noted government failure to curb discriminative pay policy in the public service contrary to the Provisions of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the Employment Act 2006 and the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery 2008 , together with the Collective Bargaining Agreement 2018..

The union is concerned that the Collective Bargaining Agreement  signed June 20l8 between Government and Public Service Labour Unions, was partially implemented but later abandoned in preference to selective pay schemes.

 ULGWU says the issue is not only unconstitutional but has disadvantaged union  members in addition to compromising their standard of living yet local government workers utilize same markets, public transport, hospitals and schools just like other well-paid workers.

The Union therefore has had longstanding dispute of failures by the government to enhance salaries of Local Government workers as provided for  in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2018 and the accrued arrears effective 2018.

Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU) General Secretary Mr Hassan Lwabayi Mudiba told the Workers Eye that the union’s past efforts to resolve the dispute amicably had been frustrated by government’s lack of positive cooperation.

Mr Mudiba wonders why government prefers to pay undefined selected minorities of their choice at the expense of quality service delivery to the selected tax payers and citizenry.

“Section 8(i) of the Public Service (Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes, Settlement Machinery) Act 2008 provides workers in the public service shall have the right to withdraw labour or call a strike in furtherance of a labour dispute,” he said

Uganda Local Government Workers Union (ULGWU) General Secretary says  the wage compression ratio for Uganda, which stands at 1:304 (Ushs187,660 as the lowest to Shs45m as the highest), is an insult and gimmick to them due to the huge tax burden they bear yet the highest paid workers walk away tax-free.

“ULGWU  finds this as a gimmick and discriminatory. It should not be practised by any civilised government,” he said.

Mr Mudiba said currently the head of Public Service earns Shs17.6m per month, her deputy gets Shs16.4 m, while permanent secretaries take home Ushs 15.4 m.

The lowest ranking local government worker at the level of U8 gets Shs187,000, while the highest ( U1) earns Shs2.4 million.

ULGWU wants the lowest ranking worker to earn Shs1.7m, while the pay for those at the level of CAOs must be raised to Shs15 m

But Public Service Minister, Mr Muruli Mukasa,  said the increments  cannot be effected this financial year because the budget has already been passed.

He said the most realistic thing is to  engage and promise the workers  to wait untill 2023/2024 financial year when their demands will be revisited and handled appropriately.

” We promise the workers  to wait untill 2023/2024 financial year when their demands will be revisited and handled appropriately,” he said

But Mr Lwabayi said they have had a long-standing dispute with the government over the matter emanating since June 2018 when Public Srerice unions signed a Collective Bargaining Agreementb with government.

” We have had a long standing labour disagreement with government emanating from June 2018,” he said.

Mr Lwabayi ruled out negotiations because their efforts to resolve the dispute amicably had been frustrated by government■

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