Over 400 lawyers representing the government have laid down their tools following government ignoring a two weeks’ notice whereby they among other things demanded a salary increment.
At the close of working hours this Tuesday, industrial action was declared by State Attorneys under their umbrella body the Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP).
“As the notice period which was agreed by the General Assembly has now elapsed with no written commitment from the Government to address our demands; it is now my duty as General Counsel to give you guidelines on how to conduct yourselves during the strike,” Senior State Attorney and UAP General Council Tom Walugembe wrote to colleagues.
The move is set to paralyse judiciary work and exacerbate the problem of case backlog as it means cases involving government can now not be heard before court.
The guidelines of the peaceful strike, a copy of which Matooke Republic has accessed are as follows:
- Keep away from the Employer’s premises.
- Handover Employer’s property including vehicles, laptops etc.
- Access to office premises must remain open to all staff not taking part in the strike. For avoidance of doubt Support Staff are not part of our strike.
- There shall be no picketing, intimidation or acts of violence against staff who wish to continue working.
- You shall not destroy damage or interfere with the Employer’s property.
- UAP members are reminded that the Employer is under no legal obligation to pay wages or allowances during the strike.
- The strike shall be indefinite until otherwise communicated.
- Keep known lines of communication open and available.
- Avoid making any statements to the press. For avoidance of doubt only the President and the UAP Publicity Secretary are designated official spokespersons for UAP concerning the strike.
- The UAP Executive shall continue to negotiate with the Employer during the strike.
- In case a viable bargain is secured, the Executive shall as soon as possible call for a General Assembly to consider the way forward.
The state attorneys argue that despite playing a pivotal role in the judicial process, putting their lives at danger in the line of duty as they prosecute dangerous elements like the corrupt and terrorists, they are paid much less than government employees in lower positions like tea girls and drivers in organisations like KCCA and UNRA.
They also want government to waive taxes on their salaries like other departments in the justice, law and order sector, including police, prisons and the judiciary.
The strike is now on, until further notice.
DPP calls for work to continue
Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita under whose docket the state attorneys fall has called on them to continue work.
“I am aware that the Executive Committee (of UAP) has been involved in negotiations with government. On behalf of the Management team of 0DDP, I call upon you to continue normally with work as the negotiations are finalises,” Chibita wrote to the lawyers.
Our source however says his pleas have been ignored and the strike will continue.