Teachers under their umbrella body, Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), have called off their nationwide strike after an engagement with President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady, Janet Museveni, who doubles as the country’s Education and Sports Minister on Sunday.
In June last year, teachers signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the government where a three phased enhancement in the teachers’ salaries was agreed with the first phase implemented henceforth and the latter committed to fulfil the second one in the 2019/2020 financial year.
However, according to Filbert Baguma, the Union’s Secretary General, they (teachers) realised that government had not considered them in the budget process, prompting them to issue a 90-day ultimatum in February this year, for government to pronounce itself on the matter, but government remained close mouthed up the lapse of the ultimatum last week Sunday, prompting UNATU to ask teachers not to step in classes starting today Monday, when second term begins.
Now, in a turn of events, Baguma has Monday told Top radio, that they met President Museveni on Sunday and agreed to suspend the strike for one term as government work towards finding money for their enhancements.
”We yesterday met with the President and he agreed to pay us 50% of what we are supposed to earn before meeting him again in July this year,” Baguma said, adding that all their teachers should go back to class and attend to the learners.
In the meeting which was also attended by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and state minister for Planning David Bahati, Museveni agreed with the teachers on inequalities in salaries on the part of the teachers, but asked them to stay away for action that may incite other civil servants to strike as well. The president all highlighted the need of improving infrastructure visa vie services provision.
Teachers want the least paid primary teacher who earns Shs469,000 to be raised to Shs600,000, those earning Shs550,000 to earn 670,000 and teachers earning Shs670,000 to move to Shs1.1m for art subjects and Shs1.2m for Sciences, with primary schoool headteachers who currently earn Shs919,000 to shift to Shs1.7m.