Teachers in government schools in Uganda have vowed not to return to classes until their pay is revised upwards.
The teachers abandoned classes after government confirmed that increment in their salaries will not be possible this financial year. Government instead increased salaries for science teachers. Since then, teachers have refused to return to class.
The strike comes less than a year since schools resumed following a two year closure with no studies for children due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Teachers under their umbrella body the Uganda National Teachers Union on 15th June 2022 commenced industrial action protesting government’s failure to fulfill its commitment of enhancing their salaries
While the teachers’ leaders have engaged with president Yoweri Museveni and the ministry of education officials, so far nothing positive seems to have been born out of the discussions after insisting that they industrial action is still on.
The president had asked the teachers to consider going back to school as the ministry of public service reviews the salaries across board, an idea they rejected.
As the country hoped that a solution would be in sight soon the permanent secretary ministry of public service Catherine Birakwate wrote a letter to the body’s leadership directing teachers to return to class by Friday 24th June or risk being put off the pay roll.
“All government employed Teachers are advised to resume duty at their respective workstations by 24th June 2022 without fail” the letter read.
“ Any Government employed Teacher who does not comply to this call will be regarded as having abandoned duty and resigned from the public service in accordance with Section A-n(17) of the Uganda Public Service Standing orders, 2021” she added.
However the UNATU secretary General Filbert Baguma in a letter responding to the above maintained that their Industrial Action is legal accusing the Permanent Secretary of deliberately twisting certain sections of the Law to try and justify their actions of intimidation.
He expresses disappointment that instead of negotiations, Government has resorted to intimidation and falsehoods but it is not new and was expected.
He says since their engagement with the head of state on 18th June , there has been no satisfactory feedback from Government and therefore the only option is to continue with Industrial Action maintaining that it is within the provisions of the law.
“ Our industrial action is still on and I want to assure you that no one can get a teacher off the pay roll for being part of a lawful industrial action” he added
Art teachers in Uganda earn between 600,000 to 700,000, up to 300