The president of Uganda HE Museveni maintains his stand as scientists demand for a minimum wage

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has maintained his stand on prioritizing better payment of civil servants in science-related fields as workers push for the harmonization of salaries across the board and enactment of a minimum wage.

He was speaking during the International Labour Day celebrations held at Kololo ceremonial grounds on Sunday afternoon. Museveni noted that although civil servants in other fields would get enhanced salaries, the government decided to start with scientists.

He was responding to calls from Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairperson of the National Organization of Trade unions- NOTU for better pay for workers in Arts and humanities, saying that they are equally important.

In his response, Museveni noted that although there is a claim of equity, the reality is that scientists are more important to the nation now and need special treatment.

Although Owere presented the grievances of post-primary science teachers who declared industrial action recently because of being left out of the salary enhancement for scientists, Museveni did not respond to the matter.

Without a response from the president, the union of science teachers that recently broke away from the Uganda National Teachers’ Union -UNATU is left with no other option other withdraw their labour when learners return to school for the second term on May 9, this year.

Earlier on, Owere had also tasked the government to re-introduce the minimum wage bill to ensure that employers stop exploiting lower-level workers. The tenth Parliament passed the bill but the president declined to sign it and returned it to the house with comments.

Owere, who asked what could have happened to the bill, petitioned the speaker of parliament, who attended the event, to include the bill on the order paper.

In his statement about the commemoration of Labor Day, Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, the leader of the opposition in parliament, noted that there might be no reason for the workers in Uganda to celebrate Labor Day given the enormous problems they are facing today.

Prices of essential commodities and fuel have continued to rise majorly due to the government’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 stimulus loan from IMF in addition to the unfair tax regime. Consequently, many workers… as well Ugandan employed in the informal sector cannot afford some of the essentials of living,” Mpuuga’s statement read in part.