You Have Two Days To Return To Work Or Be Fired- Gov’t Tells Striking Teachers

You Have Two Days To Return To Work Or Be Fired- Gov't Tells Striking Teachers

By Uganda Online Media

Kampala: The government has ordered striking teachers to return to class or resign from their work.

Teachers under their umbrella body, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) earlier this month kicked off a sit-down strike over discriminatory salary enhancements which according to them are not fair and only favoured their science counterparts

However, the Ministry of Public Service Permanent Secretary, Catherine Bitarakwate has said that whereas the government is committed to ensuring salary enhancement for all teachers, irrespective of the disciplines, this is currently impossible due to the scarce resources.

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“The current enhancement for science teachers was informed by the available resources, the number of teachers involved and the impact that can be made by the scientists on the development of the country. We have no doubt that you agree that we need an educated workforce in all aspects of life but more in sciences. This in our view will attract and retain the crucial skill that is needed at this time,” Bitarakwate said.

She however insisted that government can at this time only meet the increased salary demands for only science teachers as their art colleagues wait a little longer.

The Public Service Permanent Secretary said whereas it is within the rights of the teachers to strike, the current industrial action is not backed by any law.

“The current industrial action by UNATU members is illegal and in breach of the principles and spirit of the law and particularly sections 7(2) a,  and b and 8(1) and (3) of the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act 2008 and the recognition agreement signed under this act because UNATU has neither given the notice to strike nor had the dispute settlement machinery exhausted,” she noted.

The Permanent Secretary informed UNATU that there have been reports of schools closed by teachers as part of the ongoing strike, a situation she said cant be tolerated.

“We wish to advise you that no teacher whether on strike or not has the legal right or jurisdiction to close the public school without the concurrence of the government of Uganda.”

According to Bitarakwate, teachers are now directed to return to work by June,24, without fail or else they will face action.

“Any government-employed teacher who doesn’t comply with this call will be regarded as having abandoned duty and resigned from the Public Service in accordance with Section A –n(17)of the Public Service Standing Orders 2021. The teachers who are not willing to go back to work under the prevailing conditions are free to withdraw their labour as provided for under Section A-n (11) of the Public Service Standing Orders 2021.”

The government earlier this year approved Shs.735 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.

On the other side, science teachers who are degree holders would earn shs.4 million from between shs.1 million and shs1.4 million they are currently earning.

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