A meeting between Vice President Jessica Alupo and leaders of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) ended without any conclusive deal for the striking secondary school arts and primary school teachers.
Attended by, among others, officials from the Ministry of Public Service, the meeting in Kampala dragged on for over three hours as teachers’ union leaders led by secretary general Filbert Bates Baguma made their case for arts teachers’ salary increment to the level of science teachers.
According to Unatu’s Baguma, the meeting was not conclusive since VP Alupo chaired the meeting on behalf of President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and the delegation powers do not allow her to make any substantive decisions.
“The vice president was delegated by the president to meet us. There was an appreciation of what we are trying to do because if it goes unattended to, it will affect learners tomorrow. Alupo promised us to give feedback to the president,” said Baguma.
What will happen next is for Alupo to present a brief from the meeting to the president who who will then make the final decision on the direction the negotiations should take.
After the meeting, Workers’ MPs, officials from Unatu and Usher Wilson Owere’s National Organization of Trade Union (Notu) sounded relieved that government seemed to be shifting away from the threats to sack striking teachers to negotiations.
Unatu’s Baguma said the union was ready to call off the strike as soon as government meets their demands. It remains to be seen whether government will finally agree to increase arts teachers’ and primary school teachers’ salaries.
But the government is not short of options of finding the money to increase striking teachers salaries. (Read the Three Options Museveni’s Government Can Use to Find Shs557bn Needed to Increase Arts Teachers’ Salaries HERE).
President Museveni recently revealed how much money he wants every secondary school arts teacher to earn monthly. (Read Story Here).
But Janet Museveni, the President’s wife and education minister, has told striking arts teachers that there are over 30,000 unemployed and desperate teachers ready to grab their jobs once government fires them. (Read Story Here).
You can read more of our coverage on the arts teachers’ strike below:
MORE ON ARTS TEACHERS’ STRIKE
In his budget speech read on June 14, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija announced that the salaries of science teachers, scientists and health workers will be increased in a ‘very big’ way starting July 2022. (Read Story Here).
Hours after Minister Kasaija read the budget for the 2022-23 Financial Year indicating a salary increment for teachers of science, arts teachers began their strike, making it clear that all teachers matter. (Read Story Here).
Government held talks with secondary school arts teachers and primary school teachers’ leaders under Unatu. After failing to convince the striking teachers to call off their industrial action, Museveni’s government through Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, resorted to threatening teachers to either return to class or be fired.
But secondary school arts and primary level teachers under Unatu have fired back at President Museveni’s government, making it clear that threats of being fired will not force them to end their strike. (Read Story Here).
Relatedly, more government employees’ unions have threatened to lay down their tools in solidarity with striking teachers if government fires them, meaning that there could some sort of national shutdown. (Read Story Here).
MORE ON SCIENCE TEACHERS’ SALARY INCREMENT
MORE ON SALARY INCREMENT CIRCUS
In order to improve service delivery and end the challenge of strikes over low pay, President Museveni’s government has proposed huge salary increments for teachers, doctors and other employees starting July 2022. (Read Story Here)
The proposed increments have left many people wondering if government will really fulfill this pledge and increase salaries by very high amounts.
For example, opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has argued that the promise of salary increment is just ‘another lie.’ (Read Story Here).
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija recently said the money for increasing teachers’, doctors’ and other civil servants’ salaries was available. (Read Story Here).
In August 2021, cabinet approved salary increment for teachers, doctors and other health workers. (Read Story Here).
See the salary structure that had been proposed for the current financial year here.
Meanwhile, an NRM MP has angered teachers after telling them they are too poor to go on strike. (Read Story Here).