June 8, 2013

Fort Portal Hospital Workers Call Off Strike

Health workers at the Fort Portal regional referral hospital have finally called off a strike that had paralyzed the hospital and left hundreds of patients stranded.
Health workers at the Fort Portal regional referral hospital have finally called off a strike that had paralyzed the hospital and left hundreds of patients stranded.

Workers started their sit down strike on Tuesday 4th June, 2013 protesting government failure to pay their salaries for the months of April and May.

The announcement was made in a press release dated 7th June, 2013 signed by Dr. Jotham Bamuhiiga, the General Secretary Uganda Medical Workers Union (UMWU) Fort Portal branch.

The announcement indicates that the health workers agreed to call off the strike after receiving concrete promises their salaries will be paid by June 14.

Dr. Bamuhiiga explained that the workers decided to call off the strike after meeting with Dr. Charles Olaro the Hospital Director General of health Services and Ministry of Finance over the non –payment of their salaries.

In the meeting, Dr. Olaro proved to the workers that he had received assurances from the Ministry of Finance that the workers will be paid.

Dr. John Mali the chairperson of workers Union Fort Portal further explained that they had held several meetings with union leaders in Fort Portal and with the secretariat in in the ministry of finance and Union Secretariats. In these meetings, he said he was assured the workers would be paid by June 14.

As proof, Dr. Mali had a signed letter by the State Minister for Finance Mr.Fred Jachan Omach to Auditor General dated June 4 that with instructions on payment. The letter said that the ministry would use 3.737 billion shillings to cover the salary shortfall for all referral hospitals countrywide.

Dr. Bamuhiiga and Dr. Mali therefore urged all health workers to return to their duty stations immediately as they await the fulfilment of the promise to pay their salaries by June 14.

The workers had earlier rejected a plea by Mr. Isaac Ezati the Director for Planning in the Ministry of Health to return to work. Ezati had held a meeting with the workers on Thursday at the hospital in a bid to convince them to return to work.

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