Striking Allied health professionals and nurses did not report to work this morning, defying the Ministry of Public Service order that gave them a Monday ultimatum to halt their industrial action that entered Day 17 or be considered to have resigned their positions.

A spot check on both Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kawempe National referral Hospital and Kisenyi Health Center IV shows only a few nurses reported to work.

In Mulago for instance, a doctor who preferred anonymity intimated to URN that the strike by nurses, theater personnel and radiographers had slowed them down.

“When we were planning this camp, we didn’t anticipate that nurses will be away. Now we have to play their roles too to help the surgeons conducting operations,” he spoke of the workload as a team of neurosurgeons embarked on an annual surgical camp where they will be operating up to 50 patients this week.

When contacted, Patrick Alibu, the Secretary General of the Laboratory Professionals Association who is coordinating the Allied Health Professionals including theater personnel, medical records officers, radiographers, psychologists, dental practitioners and counselors among others said their industrial action still stands and that they are not breaking the law as government claims.

While the Friday letter by Public Service Minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa states that the strike is in contravention of Section 8(3) a and b of the public service negotiating, consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act, 2008 which stipulates that a strike should happen after a 90 days’ notice and exhaustion of other avenues of conflict resolution, Alibu says all their efforts to approach or negotiate with government have so far been futile.

The health professionals are among others demanding a pay rise.

According to Muruli – Mukasa, pay enhancement has been budgeted for in FY 2022/23 and was based on the 2018 pay Enhancement plan, the Collective Bargaining agreement and available resources.

He said, communication of the revised pay structures will follow the statutory procedures through the issuance of the annual salary circular standing instruction to the ministry along side the budget.

Meanwhile, in Mulago, the Acting Executive Director Dr. Rosemary Byanyima says they had agreed with some of the striking allied health workers assisting in the annual camp to continue working.

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