About 300 staff at Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) have threatened to lay down tools over their two month-salary arrears.
UCI staff who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said they were not paid in February as they also expressed concern that “it was unlikely they’d get their March salary.”
In a March 27 letter accessed by this publication, UCI executive director Dr Jackson Orem acknowledged a delay in payment of staff salaries for the on-going month.
“This has been attributed to a delay in the release of supplementary wage following salary enhancement,” he wrote in an internal memo.
But one UCI staffer instead questioned Dr Orem’s communication wondering why several other public hospitals have not been affected.
“Was the wage enhancement only for UCI employees? Why are they processing February salaries of one category of staff and leaving out the other category?” the aggrieved staff said.
More UCI staff spoke out saying they are unable to sustain their lives with struggles to pay bills.
“My children are sitting at home because I haven’t received a salary for two months. I am living a miserable life as a man who is working but not getting paid,” a male worker at the health facility told Monitor.
Dr Orem has since guided that the ministry of finance will give the institute a final position regarding their salary arrears on March 31.
“Nonetheless, we are processing salary for the months of February for all contract and established staff from salary scale U4-U8,” he said as he hailed the UCI staff for “being patient.”
Hundreds of cancer patients were affected in January 2023 when most UCI staff went on a sit-down strike protesting delayed salary payments.
According to UCI, the facility handles around 65,000 patients annually. World Health Organization (WHO) figures also indicate that Uganda topped 30,000 new cancer cases with over 20, 000 deaths in 2022.