Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) ended their strike without any deal after meeting President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and his wife, also education and sports minister Janet Kataaha Kainembabazi Museveni.
After the meeting at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala on July 04, Unatu Secretary General Filbert Bates Baguma revealed that Museveni had given them two options, from which they had to choose.
The president’s two options had two consequences: keep striking and end engagements with government or continue with engagements but suspend industrial action. In this case, the president threw a stick and carrot at the union’s leaders.
“The government maintained its position of prioritizing science teachers and other scientists and we as the Uganda National Teachers’ Union also maintained our stand that discriminatory salary enhancement is not taking us anywhere,” said Baguma.
“Now, we had two options at our disposal: we had the option of continuing with the industrial action but closing the gates for discussion over the matter or suspend the industrial action and continue with the discussions over the matter with government.”
After the Kololo meeting, Baguma further revealed, the Unatu leaders convened at Teachers’ House in Kampala for three hours of discussions as they weighed the advantages and disadvantages of the two options.
In the end, Unatu leaders chose to swallow Museveni’s carrot and avoid his stick. He added that Unatu chose the option of ending the strike “in the interest of the learners and the interest of the members.”
But as we have previously reported, government was considering firing striking arts teachers to replace them with new ones, with Janet Museveni openly telling those on strike that they could be replaced by over 30,000 unemployed and desperate teachers who are on the streets and ready to work for ‘small pay.’ (Read Story Here).
The threats from First Lady and Education Minister Janet Museveni came at a time when the Education Service Commission (ESC) shortlisted 2,000 teachers of Geography, History, CRE, EConomics/Entrepreneurship and Fine Art, out of 17,000 who had sat an aptitude test. (See Names of Shortlisted Teachers on the Full List Here).
MORE STORIES ON OUR COVERAGE OF ARTS TEACHERS’ STRIKE & SALARY INCREMENT CIRCUS
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).