Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Science Laboratory Professionals Association has petitioned the Ministries of Public Service and Education and Sport for a pay rise. The Association brings together over 600 laboratory attendants and assistants. On July 1, 2022, the government through the Ministry of Public Service outed a new salary structure stipulating an increase in the salaries of scientists.
Laboratory professionals earned a twenty percent salary increase, which they say is unfair compared to what their colleagues in education specifically the teachers and medical sectors are earning. The government increased the salaries of science headteachers from Shillings 1.72 million to 2.3 and Shillings 1.2million to Shillings 4million for senior education officers.
Olympia Mugarura, the National Chairperson of the Uganda Science Laboratory Professionals Association, says that they were earning Shillings 377,000 under scale U7 Upper and their money was increased to Shillings 550,000, which they say is too little compared to their colleagues.
He wants the government to differentiate between the lab attendants and lab assistants in schools noting that the two have different levels of education and roles in laboratories.
Rukia Ayebare, the regional mobiliser of the Uganda Science Laboratory Professionals Association, says that the government should not be discriminating against them because they face the same risks as the medical laboratory attendants.
She adds that laboratory attendants attend the same institutions and classes, do the same academic years as their medical counterparts, and also studied general science.
Mugarura says that they also have their counterparts in government laboratories like Ministries of Works, Agriculture, and Fisheries, and those at the national analytical laboratory who were never considered during the salary enhancement.
Isaac Nowembabazi, the Western Region Mobiliser of the Uganda Science Laboratory Professional Association, says that the government created a new salary scale under U5 science and a new position of laboratory Technician who was given Shillings 2.5million noting that the government should start recruiting laboratory professionals with Diploma and degrees. He says that the government shouldn’t recruit laboratory assistants who only complete senior four or six.