Ugandan teachers to strike over salary enhancement

Ugandan teachers to strike over salary enhancement
UNATU has given government up to 90 days to meet their demands

Ugandan teachers under their umbrella organisation Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) have given government an ultimatum of 90 days to address their demands for salary enhancement or else they lay down their tool.

In their February 19th, 2019 letter to the Education and Sports Minister, Janet Kataha Museveni, the teachers say they have been pushed to take industrial action because of lack of cooperation from government.

They accuse government of backtracking on what was agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement in 2018. Filbert Bates Baguma, the UNATU General Secretary says they will lay down their tools unless government gives them a pay rise in the 2019/2020 financial year.

“We have given them 90 days as is provided by the law. We sat in a meeting and made resolutions but most of them were not addressed by government. Government officials were supposed to sign the collective bargaining agreement that some of us signed. But to date, nothing has been signed and as a result our salary enhancement isn’t reflected in next year’s budget,” he said.

He says the Solicitor General, Treasury Secretary and the Permanent Secretary haven’t appended their signatures on the agreement, which makes it void. Baguma says the failure for by the government officials to append their signatures on the agreement, made it difficult for parliament to include the money for their salary enhancement on the 2019/2020 Budget Frame work paper.

The government’s wage bill has remained at Shillings 4.4 trillion, which means the pay for medical workers and teachers shall remain the same. UNATU proposes that a grade III teacher should earn Shillings 1.5million and a diploma holder Shillings 1.7 million. It also proposes that graduate teachers and deputy head teachers get Shillings 2 million and 2.5M respectively.

They also want Head teachers to earn Shillings 3 million. The Education Ministry, Permanent Secretary, Alex Kakoza declined to comment, saying he was yet to receive UNATU’s letter.

“I have not yet seen any letter on the issue but we shall look into it,” he said. Following a countrywide teachers strike in the 2010/2011 financial year for a 100 percent pay rise, government promised to increase teacher’s salaries gradually for five years starting with a 30 percent increase in the 2012/2013 financial year budget.

To date, the salaries have only increased by 50 percent.