Uganda: Nurses, Midwives Go on Strike Over Lunch Allowances

Nurses and midwives under their umbrella body Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) have vowed to go on strike over lunch allowances estimated at Shs70b until the money is included in the 2021/2022 financial year budget.

Mr Justus Cherop Kiplangat, the president of UNMU, in his May 4 letter to nurses and midwives said although they had earlier called for a strike, government asked the nurses and midwives to call it off with a promise that the allowances be included in the budget.

"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.

He added: " To our dismay the government has come out to say the lunch allowance for nurses and midwives of this country is an unfunded priority and thus we shall not get it this financial year."

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 as the national executive committee have immediately decided to go on an emergency strike invoking our letter of October 1, 2020, which was indicating that we would have gone on strike December 31, 2020," reads the letter in part.

It further reads: "We wish to hereby invoke the same letter and call all nurses and midwives to rally behind us and we go on strike immediately effective midnight May 5 (today)".

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.

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