Unatu leaders close schools as teachers' strike continues

Teacher Vincent is seen briefing pupils of Mpigi UMEA PS on June 21, 2022 after Unatu officials and the school management agreed to close the school in an on-going nationwide teachers' strike. PHOTO/BRIAN A KESIIME

What you need to know:

  • Meantime, government Wednesday ordered striking teachers to return to classrooms by June 24 or risk contract termination.
  • Government maintains that the teachers' strike is unlawful. 

The ongoing teachers strike has taken a new twist with some leaders of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) now closing schools where teachers ignored their calls for industrial action.

In Mpigi District, two schools– Mpigi UMEA P/S and St Kizito P/S were Tuesday directed to close and learners ordered home by Unatu officials who found classes underway. 

Unatu’s chairperson in Mpigi Mr Emmanuel Wakulira convened a meeting with the teachers of UMEA P/S where the latter claimed “they had not received an official communication from Unatu calling them to join the strike.”

This prompted Mr Wakulira to officially give them a document outlining why Unatu announced the strike a week ago. 

St Kizito P/S head teacher Mr Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe told Unatu that it was only private teachers paid by the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) that were on duty.

"I am with you because I am also a government worker," he added. 

Mr Wakulira wondered why some of their colleagues had “betrayed them.” 

"We are simply leading this cause but when we succeed, all teachers will smile to the bank," he observed.  

Unatu has vowed more inspections in the area to ensure compliance from teachers. 
On June 15, the teachers’ Union announced a nationwide strike over government’s proposed discriminatory salary enhancement. 

Under the new government salary structure, a degree holding science teacher is set to earn Shs4million, up from Shs1.2million while a diploma science teacher will get Shs3million- up from Shs950, 000. 

But a degree holding arts teacher will stay at a salary of about Shs1, 080,000 until government prefers am increment. A diploma holder arts teacher in secondary schools earns about Shs795, 000.

Meantime, government Wednesday ordered striking teachers to return to classrooms by June 24 or risk contract termination. 

Government maintains that the teachers' strike is unlawful.