The leadership of Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) has suspended their industrial action hours after meeting President Museveni at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.
Primary teachers and teachers of arts subjects in secondary schools have been on a sit-down strike since June 15 over discriminatory salary enhancement in favour of teachers of science subjects in government school.
Serval meetings between the teachers’ leadership and government officials, including the Vice President and the president held earlier did not yield fruits after they failed to agree.
However, after today’s meeting which was attended by Museveni, the First Lady Janet Museveni who doubles as the Minster of Education and Sports and the minister for public service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa, the teachers’ leadership said they had only two options; to continue with the industrial action and cut off discussions with government until their salary is enhanced or to suspend the strike as they continue engaging the government.
“We decided to suspend the industrial action as we continue to engage government for the good of our learners because we don’t want them to lose a lot, and the teachers themselves,” said UNATU General Secretary, Filbert Baguma after another three-hour closed-door meeting the association’s cluster leaders from different districts across the country, had after the engagement with the president.
“After the meeting with the president we had to come back here and consult ourselves on the next step we should take. We deliberated for three hours and agreed that the teachers return to class starting Wednesday (July 6),” Baguma added.
After the meeting with teachers, Museveni issued a statement and said : “I assured them that while government acknowledges the issues raised by the Arts teachers, we are also aware of salary issues from other workers; the army, Police officers, etc who are equally important to the growth and development of this country. We have provided a position as government and pledged to competitively remunerate workers guided by a science-led strategy. This does not mean we have forgotten others, but we are choosing to prioritise the few and others can come later. We must finish one problem at a time. The Arts teachers insist that we should use the available resources to improve salaries across the board, whilst this is possible, it does not solve the salary issue. It is okumemerera (sprinkling), where everyone will get a little and then next year everyone strikes,” President Museveni said after the meeting.
According to the president, government has a strategy and no one should disrupt it.
“We are aware of the issues and we are committed to handling them. Therefore, my advice to the teachers is that they should go back and teach,” he said.
Source: Daily Monitor.