Uganda: Teachers Suspend Strike After Museveni Meet

The leadership of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) has announced the suspension of their sit down strike following a meeting with President Museveni.

The leadership of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) has announced the suspension of their sit down strike following a meeting with President Museveni.

“We realized that for the interest of learners and the interest of our members, discussions need to continue. Therefore we decided to take the direction of suspending the industrial action as the discussions continue. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), we are going back to school,” UNATU General Secretary, Filbert Baguma said on Monday evening.

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Arts teachers three weeks ago announced a sit down strike over what they described as discriminatory, the proposed salary enhancement for their science colleagues.

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Government earlier this year approved Shs735 billion plan to enhance salaries for scientists, including science teachers.

The enhancement will see science teachers who are diploma holders in government institutions of learning earn shs3 million from between shs700,000 and shs900,000.

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On the other side, science teachers who are degree holders would earn shs4 million from between shs1 million and shs1.4 million they are currently earning.

This however didn’t augur well with arts teachers who insisted that they too be considered for salary enhancement to avoid discrepancies.

However government insisted that currently there is no money to cater for salary enhancement for arts teachers.

Several meetings between government and UNATU as well as threats of being sacked failed to resolve the impasse that went on for three weeks as teachers stuck to their guns.

On Monday, over 200 teachers representatives met with President Museveni and the Education Minister, Janet Museveni at Kololo independence grounds over the matter.

Following the meeting, teachers announced they had decided to suspend the strike for the interest of learners.

UNATU General Secretary, Filbert Baguma told journalists that they had two options including continuing with the industrial action and close gates for discussion with government or suspend the strike but continue engaging government.

He noted that the teachers chose the latter.

“We had three hours of weighing the advantages of each of the two options. We agreed that the teachers return to class,”Baguma said.

He however noted that the suspension has not been called off but rather suspended , noting that negotiations will continue with government to ensure their demands are met.

Earlier, President Museveni had said whereas government is aware of the teachers’ demands, they can’t be met now because of other equally demanding issues.

“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,” Museveni said on his social media handles.

“We have a strategy and no one should disrupt us. 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.”

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