Vice President Jessica Alupo has invited leaders of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) for a meeting aimed at convincing secondary school arts and primary school teachers to end their strike and return to class.
Now in its 14th day, the industrial action by teachers started on June 15, a day after Finance Minister Matia Kasaija announced salary enhancement for science teachers and other scientists starting in the next financial year (FY2022-23).
President Museveni and his wife Janet Kataaha Kainembabazi Museveni, the minister of Education and Sports, would later meet Unatu leaders but the union refused to call off the strike despite promises that striking teachers’ salaries would be increased as and when resources become available.
Although sources at the union had told this publication that the president directed the ministries of education, public service and finance and negotiate with teachers on the way forward, Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire issued a notice vowing to fire striking teachers if they refuse to return to class by June 24.
With Unatu telling its members to remain firm, not to give in to intimidation and to keep pushing for salary increment, VP Alupo, who previously served as the minister of Education and Sports, has invited the union’s leaders for a meeting on June 29.
Through her principal private secretary Alex Kakooza, Alupo has on June 28 written to Filbert Bates Baguma, the secretary general of Unatu, inviting him for a meeting on the ongoing industrial action.
“I have been requested to invite you for a meeting with H.E. the Vice President to discuss ways of ending the ongoing strike by the teachers,” wrote Kakooza.
“The meeting will take place on Wednesday 29th June, 2022 at the Office of the President Committee Room at 10:00am.”
This invitation from the Vice President came hours after Public Service Ministry PS Bitarakwate invited Baguma and other Unatu leaders for a meeting in Wandegeya. (Read Story Here).
The invitations for meetings also come a day after the Ministry of Public Service changed its tone on realizing that threats of firing striking teachers failed to work. Minister Muruli Mukasa has denied reports that government will sack all teachers, saying this was just a proposal to gauge teachers’ reactions. (Read Story Here).
Meanwhile, the amount of money that President Museveni wants each arts teacher to be paid every month — as and when resources become available — has been revealed. (Read Story Here).
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).
A group of MPs have also openly supported the arts teachers’ strike and told Museveni’s government to present a supplementary budget to Parliament with the aim of increasing salaries. (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).