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
Now again, I will address the matters of civil servants salaries in Uganda. There are still issues with withholding pay for certain groups of society. Like in Kibale District 85 persons we’re affected by this. Electoral Commission is missing money. The good news is that teachers are promised Ush50.000 hike in pay. Last but not least the loans for civil service are back on after been suspended for a while.
In Kibale district there been issues of non-paid civil servant staff. The state hasn’t paid 85. In June it was up to 200 who were affected by the same matter. Human Resources Officer Vincent Kyaligonza says “only 85 out of a total amount of 3200 servants have not been cleared to seek assistance from the CAO’s Office” (ChimpReports, 2014).
The Electoral Commission where recent comments have been made before the next general election in 2016. That Dr. Badru Kiggundu fears this “Salaries for our technical staff have remained stagnant since 1999. This has continued to erode the morale of staff. Through this committee, I appeal to Government for special consideration regarding this dire disparity because increased adjustments were made for all other public servants” (…)”This has put us in a danger of losing our capable and experienced staff and we may not conduct free and fair elections. The commission may not also be able to attract and maintain competent personnel in order to deliver its mandate because of this. In the recent salary revision, increment was only accorded to specified officers and the technical staff was not considered”. The other issue is the budget for the election. Wage bills is set to be sh16.5b this financial year, there is only been given sh8.2b, this means that there is missing sh8.3b. Kiggundu says: “We project to have 30,000 polling stations during 2016 elections and the costs of each voter verification system to be deployed per polling station is approximately $1,000 (about 2.6m) excluding logistics, training, hire of expertise and other concurrent costs” (Kashaka, 2014).
Director of Operation in the Electoral Commission Leonard Mulekwa says: “This is since these councils and committees form electoral colleges for election of Members of Parliamentary and Councillors representing these special interest groups in parliament and local government councils due between February 12 and March 13, 2016” (…)”This period is crowded in the field to permit election activities of Youth, PWDs and older Persons committee to run concurrently and smoothly. Therefore it is logistically prudent to complete these elections before commencing on the presidential and other polls” (Kashaka, 2014).
Certain teachers in the level of Primary school can expect a pay-raise up to 25 % that will be in effect by this month. The lowest pay of a school teacher will now be at shs279.145. Minister of Education Jessica Alupo says: “The increment for teachers’ salaries was provided as promised. The ministry of Finance and Economic Planning factored the increment into the MTEF (Mid-Term Expenditure Framework) where the wage component for primary increased by Shs202 billion from Shs619.68 billion in 2013/2014 to Shs822.07 billion in 2014/2015,” (Nalugo, 2014).
Good News II:
After describing earlier how the government of Uganda suspended loans to their teachers. There is now opened for trade again. Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi says: “The control enforcing a maximum of 50% for payroll deductions per individual will be activated on the integrated personnel and payroll system”. Uganda National Teachers Union (UNTU) Spokesman James Tweheyo says also: “The revision of the policy means a lot to us. Most public officers survive on loans” (New Vision, 2014).
Chimreports – ‘Kibaale Civil Servants Miss July Salary’ (11.08.2014) Link: http://chimpreports.com/?p=2150
Kashaka, Umaru – ‘2016 polls: Kiggundu decries lack of funds’ (06.08.2014) Link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/658450-2016-polls-kiggundu-decries-lack-of-funds.html
Nalugo, Mercy – ‘Primary teachers’ salaries increased by Shs 50,000’ (06.08.2014) Link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Primary-teachers–salaries-increased-by-Shs-50-000/-/688334/2409532/-/36j37vz/-/index.html
New Vision – ‘Government lifts ban on salary loans’ (03.08.2014) Link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/658331-government-lifts-ban-on-salary-loans.html