Teachers, govt disagree over new salary package

Tuesday October 22 2019

Public Service PS. Ms Catherine Bitarakwate

Public Service PS. Ms Catherine Bitarakwate  


Head teachers have dismissed the Ministry of Public Service’s plan to consolidate their duty allowances into the salary, saying nobody has been getting them and thus there is nothing to consolidate.
Ms Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, the Public Service Permanent Secretary, informed all local governments on October 1 that all duty allowances for head teachers and their deputies have been consolidated with salary following the salary enhancement for secondary school teachers.
“The salary payable has been consolidated in line with the pay policy approved by Cabinet,” Ms Bitarakwate stated in an October 1 letter.
However, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) general secretary, Mr Filbert Baguma, yesterday said only science teachers have been getting the allowance. Science teachers were entitled to an additional 30 per cent of their monthly pay.
Mr Baguma also disagreed with Public Service’s decision to consolidate allowances into salary, described it as “cheating”.
He said just as scientists in other public service sectors, science head teachers should equally be treated like them and be paid under the U1 and U2 category.
“That consolidation is discriminatory. We don’t buy it because the qualification that take one to that level of U1 (graduate head teacher) is the same level the other scientists in other departments have. There is no allowance for head teachers and no reason to consolidate it. That is creating confusion,” Mr Baguma said.
But the Public Service assistant commissioner for compensation, Mr Victor Bua, yesterday insisted that all head teachers and their deputies, regardless of whether they are in the science or arts category were receiving an extra 30 per cent of their salary every month as duty allowance.
However, he said effective this financial year, it has been dropped following government’s salary enhancement for teachers in September.
“All head teachers and deputies have been getting 30 per cent of their salary for duty allowance. They were all getting it regardless whether they are science or arts,” Mr Bua said.
However, head teachers Daily Monitor spoke to yesterday said they have never received any duty allowance.
One of the head teachers, who preferred anonymity, said he could not remember when government started paying the duty allowances to them.
The source said he has been a head teacher for two years but has never received the allowance. He is a Physics teacher upcountry.
“Even the 30 per cent allowance I was getting as a science teacher was stopped. I have asked the chief administrative officer many times but he said we are not supposed to get. We are many. It is suspicious when you hear from other head teachers that some districts are getting while others are not,” he said.
“We don’t know how many [regions] we have in Uganda so that some policies apply elsewhere and don’t apply in other districts. There is not much we can do because these are our supervisors. But these are some of the injustices in the system,” the source said.
Mr Job Matua, the spokesperson of Uganda National Science Teachers’ Union, said the motive of the Public Service is to scrap their allowance.
“We find the removal of the science allowance is unacceptable and we reject it. This is part of the disrespect to science teachers orchestrated by false job evaluation done by disgruntled commissioners in Ministry of Public Service who have issues with science teachers. They openly complain about being paid low salaries. This mistreatment of scientists at post primary levels must stop urgently,” Mr Matua said.
New salary structure
In September, government increased teachers’ salaries using Shs135b. According to the September Public Service salary structure circular, a secondary school head teacher’s pay was raised from Shs1.9m to Shs2.3m. This means, according to Public Service’s circular, the reviewed salary contains the duty allowance, leaving teachers to question whether there was a salary enhancement.