Museveni meets Unatu amid threats of new teachers’ strike
Posted Saturday, October 12 2013 at 01:00
Promises not honoured. The Unatu secretary general had warned that teachers would resume the strike if nothing positive came out of their negotiations.
President Museveni held a meeting with Uganda National Teacher’s Union (Unatu) officials to resolve the impasse over the teachers’ pay raise.
Ms Sarah Kagingo, the presidential assistant in charge of social media, said on Thursday, Mr Museveni had summoned Unatu officials to State House in Entebbe for negotiations to prevent them from resuming their countrywide strike.
Last month, teachers across the country, laid down their tools to demand a 20 per cent pay rise from government as promised by the President in 2011.
The strike paralysed learning across the country forcing the government to plead with teachers to call off the strike as negotiations continued.
The teachers agreed to suspend the strike for 28 working days pending conclusion of the talks.
While suspending the strike, Mr James Tweheyo, the Unatu secretary general, said government had committed to honour its pledge to increase the teachers’ salaries.
He warned that they would resume the strike should nothing positive come out of their negotiations.
On Tuesday, teachers in Masaka threatened to disrupt the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) examinations after receiving information that government will only give them the pay rise in next financial year.
The threats prompted Mr Museveni to convene an impromptu meeting with Unatu leaders at Entebbe.
Ms Kagingo said more than 100 officials had attended the meeting.
She explained that Museveni was negotiating with Unatu to allow government implement the pay rise next financial year because the available funds have already been committed to other sectors such as roads and energy.
Mr Moses Nsereko Ssebuliba, the Masaka regional Unatu chairperson, and his secretary general Mathias Mukasa confirmed travelling to Entebbe for the meeting.
Mr Ssebuliba told URN by telephone from Entebbe that they expected their national leaders to inform the President that teachers need a pay rise urgently. Mr Mukasa said they also want Mr Museveni to deal with government officials who are threatening to sack teachers who participated in the strike.
He singled out several resident district commissioners and Education Minister Jessica Alupo, whom he accuses of being militant against teachers.
On Wednesday, while presiding over the Independence Day celebrations in Rukungiri, the President said although the government has money, it can’t give the teachers a pay raise because there are other priority sectors.
Cause of strike
A primary school teacher earns about Shs260,000 shillings per month while their secondary school counterparts earn Shs400,000. Teachers working for government schools embarked on a nationwide strike at the beginning of this term demanding a 20 per cent rise on their salary. In 2011, the government had pledged to increase teachers’ pay by 20 per cent but now says it has no money to effect the increment.