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Press Release: UNATU suspends industrial action awaiting implementation of government commitments (26.05.2015)

Unatu

The Leadership of the Teachers’ Union Countrywide unanimously resolved to enter into an industrial action effective 14th May 2015, due to Government’s failure to pay the 10% salary increment for teachers in FY 2015/16 as had been committed in 2011. The industrial action has been on for the past 13 days.

As concerned stakeholders in education, we have been taking lead in negotiations so that the issue at hand is sorted out within the shortest time possible to allow the learners resume normal studies.

In the negotiation meetings chaired by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and attended by several ministers held on 18th and 21st May respectively, no tangible proposals were put forth.

Until yesterday, 25th of May, Government had been adamant in making any formal commitment as regards the 10% salary increment for teachers despite the Union’s efforts in providing practical and viable options/ sources for the increment.

In yesterday’s meeting with the top leadership of the Union, Government made the following commitments;
• 15% salary increment in FY 2016/17
• Teachers SACCO funds to be immediately released to the Apex body of the Teachers’ SACCOs
• No intimidation/ victimization/ harassment of teachers for having participated in the industrial action
• A joint committee comprising Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports, Ministry of Public Service and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and UNATU be constituted to identify and advise Government on measures to improve the quality of education.

UNATU being a democratic and member-driven union had to subject the above proposals with the entire teacher leadership countrywide for discussion and resolution at a meeting held on 26th May 2015. Government’s position was presented by Hon. Jim Muhwezi, the Minister of Information and National Guidance. Hon. David Bahati, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development was also in attendance.

After a thorough discussion of Government’s proposals, the teacher leaders have resolved to SUSPEND the industrial action on condition that;
i. Government does not breach the implementation of the above commitments within the stipulated time.
ii. No salary increments are effected in FY 2015/16 including the proposed 40% allowance increment for Members’ of Parliament because Government maintains that it has no funds for wage increments.
iii. Government fulfills its commitment of immediately releasing the Teacher SACCO funds to the Apex body of the Teachers’ SACCOs
iv. District officials desist from any form of intimidation, victimization and harassment of teachers in regard to the industrial action
It was further resolved that should government fail to honor their commitment or fail to meet the above conditions, this time round, the Industrial action will resume indefinitely.

Message to the Teachers
UNATU congratulates teachers for the spirited struggle and thanks different support teams upon the successes registered in this industrial action.
The Union hereby clarifies that the Industrial action is not off, but only SUSPENDED to allow Government time to fulfill her commitments. UNATU will continue to monitor the progress of these commitments and by the 30th of September, we expect Government to have included the 15% salary increment in the budget call circular and fully released the said SACCO funds

We therefore call upon all teachers to return to school and resume teaching with effect from Wednesday, 27th May 2015 at 8:00am.

Please note that the industrial action is fully protected by the existing laws and hence no teacher should be intimidated or be subjected to any form of harassment as a result of having participated in the industrial action. Individual teachers and other leaders should report such cases immediately for redress.

“Because we are, the Nation is”

General Secretary – James Tweheyo

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