By Prossy Namiiro
Teachers under their umbrella body the Uganda National Teacher Union(UNATU) have again threatened to resume industrial action this week unless the government agrees to improve their welfare.
In a statement, Filbert Baguma, the general secretary UNATU said it is unfortunate that the teachers’ issues particularly those concerning salary increment have turned into a ‘song’.
“Almost every Financial Year, teachers have to remind the government about the commitments earlier made. Do teachers really matter to this nation? Are the commitments made by the government mere board room gimmicks meant to silence teachers and foil any plans for industrial action? “asked Baguma.
Baguma said they are opposed to plans to enhance the salaries of only science teachers in the next financial year.
“A notification was given to the government on May 23d, 2022 expressing our intention to action if they insist on implementing discriminatory salary enhancements and resume our industrial for teachers as opposed to honoring the commitments made in our collective bargaining agreement signed on 22nd June, 2018,” he said.
Regrettably, to date, Baguma said no positive response has been received from the government to address their issues.
“It is important to note that our Industrial Action that started in 2019 over the same issue was only suspended pending the full implementation of the collective bargaining agreement. As teachers, we considered the agreement a landmark event and even applauded the government for ‘formalizing’ the commitments,” Baguma said.
To their dismay, Baguma noted that this has turned out to be a publicity stunt because four years down the road, the government has totally ignored their agreements and continued to draw salary enhancement plans for civil servants including teachers as they so wish despite several reminders.
“Why does this country continue to mock teachers and push them further into depression? This is totally unacceptable to us. The public should therefore be aware that effective 15th June, 2022, teachers will not be present in the classrooms until the government honours the salary commitments made to them,” Baguma stated.
As a Union, Baguma said they want the government to agree and implement the earlier agreement without discrimination.
“Some categories of civil servants are already earning salaries from the same agreement. Why does the practice change when it comes to teachers? UNATU hereby informs all teachers that the industrial action is still on course, “he said.