Teachers under the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) have suspended their industrial action ahead of the opening of term two of the academic year 2019.
Teachers declared an industrial action on Monday last week citing government’s failure to respond to their salary enhancement demands.
They said the 90-day ultimatum they had given to government in February this year on the matter had elapsed on Sunday May 19 and they vowed not to step in classes when the term begins. The new terms opens today, Monday.
On Sunday, Filbert Baguma, the UNATU Secretary General told SoftPower News that the teachers had held a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni and agreed to suspend the strike.
“We have met the President this evening and we agreed to go back to classes since he has promised that we shall get 50% of what we were supposed to get,” Baguma said.
He added that teachers’ leaders at all levels will be meeting again with the President in July on the same matter.
While addressing the UNATU regional leaders, President Museveni appealed to the teachers not to refrain from actions that are likely to incite other civil servants.
“These people (Ministry of Finance) might not be able to get Shs 500bn. The Shs 251bn, that also may not be easy, ” the President said.
“This is my proposal. Even if we got the Shs 251bn, should it only be for teachers? Is that wise? Please don’t cause problems by causing jealous”.
“If we raise anything additional, let it be shared by some. Especially the lower ones, ” he added.
He said part of the longstanding issue of salary enhancements is structural, citing the loophole in the law which give Parliamentarians powers to determine their salaries.
Last year in February, teachers started negotiations with government on their salary enhancements leading and signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on June 22.
The agreement was meant to be implemented henceforth, but due to limited financial resources (Shs 536bn) on part of government, it was agreed that the engagements are done in three phases.
He says the first phase was successfully implemented but government failed to effect the second phase.
The least paid teacher in government institutions earns Shs 469,000 shift to Shs 600,000.
UNATU brings together thousands of teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary schools in Uganda, and laying down tools will have an adverse effect on pupils and students in primary and secondary schools.