The National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) has criticized the move by the Ministry of Public Service to issue a strict dress code for non-uniformed officers in the Public Service.

According to the Chairman General of NOTU Usher Wilson Owere, the decision was rushed. “There is what we call a negotiation machinery in public service. Whatever rules or regulations they pick, they should have first consulted us as workers,” said Owere.

Public servants in Uganda are facing a strict dress code after the government issued a circular warning them to “dress decently”.

Female staff have been told not to show any cleavage, wear brightly coloured nails, braids or hair extensions, sleeveless or transparent blouses.

Men must wear long-sleeved shirts, jackets and ties, while trousers should not be tight-fitting.

Staff failing to comply will be disciplined.

The guidelines, issued by the Ministry of Public Service apply to all non-uniformed civil servants. But there is a feeling that female staff are the main focus on the new rules.

While women will be allowed to wear pant-suits, they have been warned not to wear any tight-fitting clothing. Dresses and skirts must at least be knee-length.

Uganda is a conservative society and women have previously complained of being harassed if they wear mini-skirts in public.