Pilots flying police aircraft are seeking pay to match salary scale as their counterparts who fly President Museveni.
The pilots based at the Kajjansi Police Air Wing (PAW) made the demand yesterday while meeting the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga.
The PAW's head of operations, Mr Aziz Ssentamu, said much as they appreciate an increment in their monthly salary last year, they need to match the rate paid to the presidential jet crew because they also transport Very Important Persons (VIPs) and state officials aboard the police aircraft.
"There was a standardisation of salaries, but we were left out. We have heard of VIP scale for pilots, but we are not considered," he said, resurrecting a perennial pay disparity problem afflicting the public service, where individuals with same qualifications or experience, but working for different government agencies, receiving widely different remunerations.
There has been more talk, but no action, on a proposal for the government to establish a Salary Review Commission to harmonise salaries of public officials, including civil servants.
In their petition yesterday, Mr Ssentamu said: "We are supposed to be part of the presidential [crew] scale because we fly VIPs. We fly the vice president, the prime minister and you madam Speaker. And also during campaigns, we flew the President."
We could not independently verify the claims that police pilots were to be paid at the same rate as the presidential pilots/crew.
Mr Ssentamu said some of the PAW pilots also qualify for such increment because of their experience and the service they have offered for the country.
He said PAW pilots should be considered for a standardised salary scale so that they are not caught up in the troubles of aviation industry especially where pilots of different airline companies keep going on strike over low pay.
Speaker Kadaga, who said she was happy with the government response to the earlier demand for increment of salaries for PAW pilots, promised to advocate their new demand.
"I am happy that the other one (salary increment demand) was handled. We shall look at it (new demand) and we shall make inquiries," she said.
Ms Kadaga, who received a portrait of herself in a yellow dress and also another portrait of a police chopper from the pilots, said she was impressed with female pilots in PAW.
She was told some of the women pilots will either fly or be part of the crew for the new police aircraft which is expect to make nonstop trips across the continent.
The police pilots had called on the Speaker's office to welcome her from her ailment that saw her hospitalised at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, in March.
Currently: The PAW pilots are earning Shs8.1m per month, which they started getting in April last year following an intervention by the Speaker. Before that, they were earning Shs2.1m per month.
The increase: In July last year, government increased the salaries of the Presidential pilots by at least 10 times, a development that might have caught the attention of the police pilots.
Presidential crew: Last year, a post of executive director was created for the crew and the job holder earns Shs22.5m per month or Shs270m annually. The crew's chief pilot and chief engineer, who were said to be underpaid, now earn Shs21.6m, up from Shs2.8m.
Captain: The monthly pay for the presidential crew captain jumped from Shs2.8m to Shs20.2m per month while that of the President's pilot was increased from Shs2.5m to Shs20m.
Others: Also on the same salary of Shs20m are the first officers. Now, police pilots are demanding to be paid Shs20m per month.