Teachers under their umbrella Association of Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU) have declared the beginning of their sit-down strike tomorrow Monday, Chimp Corps report.
This comes after teachers failed to get an official communication from the government on the delayed increment of their salaries as earlier promised.
In a joint press briefing held by leaders of various Workers’ Unions at Ntinda, Philbert Baguma, the General secretary for UNATU, said they issued a 90-day ultimatum to government to raise their salaries which elapse today.
“Government has continued to take our demands for granted,” said Baguma.
“If members of Parliament can seek an increment of their salaries on conditions that the cost of living in the country today is very high, what about teachers who earn little?” wondered Baguma.
He said the problem with this government is not because they don’t have money but spend the available resources segregatively.
“Teachers are the most patriotic people because they endure poor working conditions and teach in schools where their salaries can not enable them educate their children in the same schools,” Baguma added.
Usher Wilson Owere, chairman National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) asked government to stop being arrogant especially wherever workers present their needs but they should always listen and engage them to have their matters resolved.
“The teachers, before this strike, followed the law by issuing a 90-day notice which was never responded to by the government. Therefore, there is no need to harass teachers in the course of exercising their rights,” said Owere.
The strike comes just a week before students return to school for second term holidays.
The move is likely to disrupt education services in the country if the teachers’ needs are not met or union leaders persuaded to exercise more patience.
Owere said it was surprising to see that the first phase of salary increment was fulfilled but the second one, which was set to cater for teachers, has not been budgeted for in the 2019/2020 financial year as earlier agreed.
Union leaders urged government to fix the salary gap.
“We teach other people’s children when ours are at home. We all buy from the same markets, shops and buy fuel at the same stations but why don’t we get the same pay?” one of the leaders wondered.
Hassan Lubyayi Mudiba, the General secretary for Uganda Local Government Workers Union warned: “This time we will support the teachers’ strike and if necessary join them.”
President Museveni has since maintained government workers must be patient as raising salaries at the moment would not be sustainable until the economy expands.