Friday November 16 2012

Teachers protest over salary hitch

By Francis Mugerwa

Teachers in Hoima District have tasked the district authorities to explain anomalies regarding their salaries. Speaking during a meeting between the teachers and district officials on Tuesday, the chairperson of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) Hoima branch, Mr Francis Kemara, said since November last year, some teachers had been receiving half salaries.

Mr Kemara said some teachers did not received their salaries for some months, adding that they had become disgruntled for failure to cater for their families.

“We were initially told that the (payroll anomalies) system would be resolved within two months but it has persisted,” Mr Kemara, who is also Unatu’s national secretary for welfare, said.

The teachers accused the district personnel officer, Ms Sarah Kabasomi, of misplacing their records.

“You find several secondary teachers appearing on the payroll of primary schools where they have never worked and their qualifications are changed. Many graduate teachers have been changed to being education assistants, implying they have been reduced to being grade three teachers,” Mr Kemara said.

He said many graduate teachers have been reduced from a salary scale of U4 to U7, which is equivalent to Shs313,000.

Mr Kemara said every month, teachers notify the district personnel office about anomalies in the payroll but they are not rectified.
Ms Kabasomi, who was not in the meeting at Duhaga Girls Primary School, was summoned by the Hoima Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Robert Arinaitwe.

Ms Kabasomi said: “It is true there have been under payments of some teachers but this has been due to double deductions of loans.”

She said her office will submit the applications of the teachers who are missing on the payroll to the Public Service ministry for consideration.

“These are realities. Let us work in harmony even in times of distress instead of tearing each other apart,” Ms Kabasomi said.

Mr Arinaitwe said: “This payroll problem is countrywide but it is being handled administratively and will soon be corrected.”
Teachers went on strike in September for the second time this year demanding a 100 per cent pay raise.

They first went on strike in July, joining other Ugandans protesting over rising costs of living. They have persistently complained about their welfare and government has assured them that their plight will be addressed.