Ugandan science teachers have announced that they will begin their strike today, May 09, as they continue with their push for salary increment along other scientists starting in the 2022-2023 Financial Year which begins in July 2022.
According to Uganda Professional Science Teachers’ Union (UPSTU), on May 06, all the 16 sub-regions, through their branch councils resolved to uphold the UPSTU National Executive Committee (NEC) resolution of laying down tools effective May 09, 2022.
On the same day, UPSTU NEC members met officials from the Ministry of Public Service (MoPS) led by Minister Muruli Mukasa. Some workers’ MPs and members of Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (Coftu) and the National Organization of Trade Unions (Notu) attended the meeting.
On May 07, NEC held an extraordinary meeting to discuss proposals from the meeting held at MoPS. In this meeting NEC resolved to start an industrial action in which they will lay down their tools starting May 09, the official date for the beginning of Second Term for the 2022 academic calendar.
UPSTU NEC members were concerned that Minister Muruli had communicated proposals by the ministry and not commitments by the central government. They say they will stay away from classrooms until a substantive written commitment from government on Muruli’s positions has been received by the union.
While government had promised to increase the salary of the highest secondary school science teacher to Shs4m, Minister Muruli reportedly told UPSTU NEC members that government could manage Shs2.2m. The diploma science teachers were demanding Shs3m per month but the ministry of public service has reportedly promised them Shs1.4m.
It should be remembered that the science teachers have been complaining that government has over the years diverted the money meant to enhance their salaries to cater for over civil servants. The same science teachers recently claimed that government had allocated Shs110bn for the enhancement of their salaries starting July 2022 but the money ‘disappeared’ from the budget framework paper. (Read Story Here).
While the announcement to increase government employees had created excitement months ago, it slowly emerged that the Covid19 pandemic, its effects and a struggling economy meant that the salaries would not be increased as much as had been promised for the 2022-2023 Financial Year.
And even when government resolved to increase salaries for scientists starting July 2022, it was agreed that the increment should be in a phased manner, meaning that scientists would not get the desired and previously agreed upon amount at once, but increment would be spread over a number of financial years.
It is not science teachers that are up in arms over salary increment, even allied health professionals, under the Allied Health Professionals Associations (which brings together groupings such as the Uganda Dispensers Association, Uganda Medical Records Association, Uganda Dental Association, radiographers, and vector control officers), had complained that government had left them behind.
But Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire recently revealed that all health workers — including morgue attendants — would get a salary increment in July 2022 by sharing a Shs400bn salary enhancement package. (Read Story Here).