Ugandan secondary school teachers have vowed never to return to class until President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s government has met their salary increment demands.
While gates reopened for second term of the school calendar on May 09, some science teachers stayed away as part of their industrial action pushing for salary increment.
At the weekend, science teachers, through their umbrella body, the Uganda Professional Science Teachers’ Union (UPSTU), announced that their strike will begin with second term as they seek to push government to commit a substantial figure for their pay raise in the 2022-2023 Financial Year which starts in July 2022.
UPSTU said it was not only science teachers that were only strike over pay. Technical instructors, science tutors and laboratory technicians are also part of the industrial action.
The union said these groups of employees had “painfully” begun the strike. They are protesting a decision by government to reportedly divert money meant for their salary increment.
In their recent meeting with officials from the Ministry of Public Service as Minister Muruli Mukasa attempted to stop the strike that started today, proposals for some increment are said to have been made. But the science teachers are said to have told Minister Muruli to present an official government commitment on the proposed increment.
The budget process for the 2022-2023 Financial Year is in its advanced stages. While this makes substantial changes in allocations difficult, it may not necessarily be an impossible thing to do. The science teachers are aware of this and seem keen on pushing government to make some favorable adjustments.
They have vowed that they will not step in classrooms again until government has respected previous directives by the president regarding salary increment or offered reliable commitments on phased increment.
“Implement the Presidential directive. Respect Cabinet Resolution. Science teachers are Scientists Give us commitment to resolve our grievances,” said UPSTU in a short statement issued on May 09, the day the strike began.
The Pearl Times recently reported that some UPSTU leaders were claiming that a total of billions of Uganda Shillings had initially been set aside for the increment of salaries for science teachers starting July 2022 but the money had ‘disappeared.’ (Read Story Here).
Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire was recently quoted as saying that Shs400bn had been earmarked for the increment of salaries for health workers.
PS Musingwire said that the money would go towards increasing salaries for all health workers — including morgue attendants. (Read Story Here).
The Permanent Ministry also revealed that President Museveni’s Cabinet was yet to allow the Public Service Ministry to release the new salary structure that will take effect in July 2022. (Read Story Here).