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Staff Protest at Lira University Teaching Hospital Over Salary

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Staff Protest at Lira University Teaching Hospital Over Salary
PHOTO — Lira University


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Staff members at Lira University Teaching Hospital have launched an industrial action against the University, citing alleged salary disparities. The strike, which commenced on Monday, has resulted in only essential departments operating with reduced staffing levels, affecting services at the Teaching Hospital, which caters to both the university and the wider community.

The protesting staff, represented by the National Union of Educational Institutions (NUEI) – Lira University branch, have pointed out the university’s failure to implement a directive from the Ministry of Public Service regarding salary adjustments. This discrepancy has affected around 300 staff members affiliated with various umbrella bodies.

For example, a nurse with a diploma currently earning a net salary of 1.44 million Shillings with a gross of 2.09 million Shillings would, under the revised salary structure, receive a net salary of 2.3 million Shillings from a gross pay of 3.47 million Shillings.

Tensions have been escalating since September 2022 when public universities were instructed to standardize their salary structures across faculties and departments. Despite attempts to engage with the administration, led by Phyllis Ocwa, the Lira Branch Secretary of NUEI and a radiographer at the University’s hospital, negotiations have yielded no results. Ocwa expressed concerns over potential repercussions for speaking out but emphasized the importance of addressing the issue collectively.

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In October 2023, the NUEI-Lira University branch convened a general assembly, resolving to issue a 60-day notice of industrial action. They demanded new appointment letters reflecting updated positions and salaries effective July 1, 2023.

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Ocwa highlighted the adverse impact of the dispute on staff performance, noting that many have not been accommodated by the university, further exacerbating the situation.

Responding to the strike, Prof. Jasper Ogwal-Okeng, the university’s vice chancellor, acknowledged receipt of the industrial action notice. He clarified that only hospital staff with diploma qualifications were participating in the strike. According to him, the strike lacked sufficient notice and violated due process. He assured the public that the hospital was operating normally with other diploma staff members who were willing to work.

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