Now, during the Wednesday meeting which was called by the vice president, Rtd Maj Jessica Alupo, UNATU leadership under the stewardship of their general secretary Filbert Bates Baguma told off government officials that before negotiation started, the government should stop threatening teachers.
Teachers under their umbrella body Uganda National
Teachers Union - UNATU have told the government to stop using ominous and
threatening language as fresh negotiations between the two parties get underway.
On June 15, teachers announced a national wide strike
which has since stalled learning in most of the schools in their quest for pay
equity and harmonization of salaries among teachers of various subjects, and
school administrators at all levels of education.
Government authorities began making threats, though, as
teachers’ walkout reached the second week to get nearly 120,000 teachers back
in the classroom. A letter from Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, the
permanent secretary of the ministry of public service, capped the threats. The
letter issued a two-day deadline for the striking teachers to get back to work
or face being dropped from the payroll for failing to report for duty.
Bitarakwate additionally requested that inspections be
conducted and a list of missing teachers be compiled by the Town Clerks and
Chief Administrative Officers. Since then, the action has irritated teachers,
driving them farther away from schools.
Now, during the Wednesday meeting which was called by the
vice president, Rtd Maj Jessica Alupo, UNATU leadership under the stewardship
of their general secretary Filbert Bates Baguma told off government officials
that before negotiation started, the government should stop threatening
“We cannot have genuine talks when one part is
threatening the other. All ministers and other officials have been adapting a
threatening language saying that striking teachers will be deleted from the
payroll. This was one of the key things we presented in the meeting,” Baguma
told our reporter moments after the meeting.
Baguma noted that the Vice President pledged that
government and its officials will no longer issue threats to teachers.
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The said meeting which lasted for over three hours was
attended by workers’ Members of Parliament, the minister and officials from his
ministry of public service, the Director-General of Internal Security
Organisation - ISO, officials from the Ministry of Education, and representatives
from the National Organization of Trade Unions – NOTU.
Apart from stopping threats, it seems the Vice President
had nothing to table when teachers presented their issues. Usher Wilson
Owere, the NOTU Chairman General, told our reporter that initially, teachers
had high hopes thinking that the government had something to offer as
negotiations started, but mid-way through the talks they realized that there
was nothing from the government’s side.
“The meeting was just to create a relationship between
the two parties. There was nothing much. We learnt that the Vice President was
just a listening post sent by the President. UNATU just represented their case
as they had done weeks ago when they met the President. But all sides were
respecting each other and vice president noted that she will report the
teachers' matters to the president,” Owere noted.
statement released by the Vice President’s office, it was noted that the two
parties agreed to have “urgent contained interactions and engagements on the
UNATU leaders, although there wasn’t much from government, this was a good starting
point. Leaders stated that unlike their first meeting with the President, this
time around they were given enough time to present their case and have an
honest discussion with government officials on the issue at hand.
the discussion, there were attempts from the vice president and other officials
from the government side courting UNATU to call off the strike to have all
schools re-opened and all learners accessing education given the fact that they
have already lost two years of learning due to COVID-19. The call was rejected.
our reporter that even with the talks the resumption of teaching and learning
is currently contingent on the negotiation process and whether its outcome is
satisfactory. to him, it is up to the government to expedite the process so
that the damage caused by the striking teachers is minimized.
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Meanwhile, the secretary-general could not resist hitting
back at government officials including Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and the
Education Minister Janet Kataaha Museveni who have been blaming teachers for
receiving free money during the lockdown and ask a pay raise when schools
According to Baguma, such statements are insults to
teachers given the fact that it was the government
that closed the schools for a well-known reason of covid19 induced
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Although the negotiations have started with another
meeting between UNATU and the ministry of public service scheduled to take
place on July 1, 2022. Signs show that the government has not yet moved from
its earlier position. The government notes that it is ready to enhance
teachers’ pay but this cannot be implemented in the coming financial
While addressing journalists at the
sidelines of the Uganda Revenue Authority budget breakfast meeting in Mbarara
City on Tuesday, the State Minister of Finance in charge of General Duties, Henry Musasizi, noted government cannot increase the salary of all teachers at
a go due to resource constraints.
Available information indicates that the education
ministry was allocated 95 billion shillings for salary enhancement which was
all allocated to science teachers thus raising their pay by nearly 300 per cent
from 1.2 million shillings to 4 million shillings. There have been calls to
apportion the available funds equally to all the 169,000 teachers. If this is
done, each will get a pay raise of 46,800 shillings.