Speaker directs Prime Minister on plight of teachers

By Sarah Achen Kibisi.

The Speaker of Uganda Parliament, Hon. Anita Among has directed the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister also Leader of Government Business Hon. Robinah Nabbanja to consider taking a final position  on the plight  of  teachers, detailing long term plans by Government in addressing the matter holistically and sustainably. She said there is no way Parliament would just sit down and watch while workers’ rights are violated with impunity while learners reemain home losing education.

The issue of teacher’s salary disparities was raised by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal saying  the issue of salary disparities between Arts and Science teachers had resulted in the recent industrial action by Arts teachers. “There is even a situation where the salary of a science teacher doubles the one of the head teacher,” Ogwang urged.

Opposition Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe said the selective salary enhancement for teachers was discriminatory in nature and has opened a paradox box. “Government is even on notice by and we are likely to have many more including that from health workers.”

 Nambeshe called the house to also prevail over the powers that be in the event that  there is no salary remuneration review commission that could harmonize wages for public sector workers.

The developments culminated in President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni holding  a meeting with Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) leadership and workers members of Parliament on July 4, 2022 at Kololo Ceremonial grounds. Later UNATU agreed  to call off the countrywide industrial action that had paralaysed the education sector. President Museveni said  while government acknowledges the issues raised  by the Arts teachers he added that salaries for other workers like the  Police and army is equally important to the development of the country.  He said  they provided a position as government and pledged  to competitively remunerate  workers  guided by a science – led strategy.

“We have not fogotten other workers but  we are choosing to prioritise the few  and others can come later.

But arts teachers under the guidance of UNATU insisted that government uses available resources  to improve salaries  for all teachers without discrimination.

UNATU General Secretary  Mr Philbert Baguma told the Workers Eye  that  the decision to call off the strrike was reached after holding an in-depth  discussion with National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), workers MPS  and government.

“We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of two options to put into account the interests of innocent learners and interests of our members, and we resolved to suspend industrial action,” he said.

Mr Baguma, who has lately been reduced by President Yoweri Museveni into a ” punching bag” , said negotiations  are not about winning but agreeing  to take the right path on matters pertaining to discussing the plight of teachers.

He said: ” UNATU will continue engaging government  and giving constant updates  to members, stakeholders and the public.” he said. NOTU Chairman General Mr Usher Wilson Owere told the Workers Eye that as trade union leaders they have engaged government with view to enhancing teachers’ salaries without discrimination. “I would like to assure teachers that we have set the ball rolling in ensuring salary rise for all public  servants”■

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