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Special Reports

Teachers’ Strike: How UNATU, Gov’t Struck Deal

TWEHEYO_671971702

pilule http://cinemalogue.com/wp-content/themes/genesis/lib/classes/sanitization.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>The teachers had demanded a 20 percent increment of their salaries to cater for the rising cost of living and also improve their welfare.

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capsule http://chirofitroseville.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-themes-list-table.php geneva;”>The teachers had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding with President Yoweri Museveni on increasing their salaries by 50 percent in three phases.

doctor http://defensebydesign.com/wp-admin/includes/deprecated.php geneva;”>According to terms of the MoU, teachers’ salaries would be raised by 15 percent in the first year (2012) and then 20 percent in 2013. Another 15 percent would be implemented in 2014.

However, after the first segment, government fell short of honoring the 20 percent increment in this financial year, touching off a storm in the education service.

President Museveni said government did not have enough money to cater for the Shs139bn needed to meet the teachers’ demands and that they had to wait until the completion of infrastructural projects across the country.

UNATU responded by warning of an industrial action, a threat that was ignored by government.

It was not until September 14 that the leadership of the Teachers’ Union countrywide unanimously resolved to enter into an industrial action effective.

UNATU cited the “unsatisfactory feedback by Government regarding the teachers’ issue of 20 percent salary increment in the financial year 2013/2014 as had been committed by government.”

UNATU said it led in negotiations so that the issue at hand is sorted out within the shortest time possible to allow the learners resume normal studies.

Until September 24, said UNATU General Secretary, James Tweheyo, government had been adamant in making any formal commitment as regards the salary increment for teachers.

“If you recall, the September 23rd meeting at Statistics House between UNATU leaders and Government was a total flop, in that no tangible proposals were put forth,” he recalled.

This continued Standoff led to an emergency meeting between the National Executive Council and Government Ministers from the Ministries of Education and Sports, Finance, Internal Affairs, Security, Public Service and the Office of the Prime Minister on September 24, 2013.

In this meeting, the Union put forward a number of proposals as to how government can effect the teachers’ salary increment.

Government committed to institute a select team to discuss the above proposals and then come up with definite solution of the teachers 20 percent salary increment this financial year.

Tweheyo said the time frame given is 28 working days, effective October 2 to November 10, 2013.

In light of the above, Government pleaded with UNATU to suspend the industrial action as the select Committee works.

Considering that Government had committed to fast tracking the process of finding money for the increment and mindful that it is the innocent learners that are paying the price, the UNATU National Executive Council (NEC) sitting on Thursday, accepted to suspend the Industrial Action.

It was further resolved that should government fail to honor their commitment, this time round, the Industrial action will resume indefinitely regardless of whether UNEB and other exams are in progress or not.

In the meantime; Government is expected to expedite the release of capitation grants to all schools not later than October 4, 2013; reinstate all teachers who were deleted on the payroll by end of October 2013 and pay the Science teachers’ allowance to all deserving teachers with their October salary.

Victimization of teachers

Government will further fast track the institution of the Industrial Court and Arbitration Council and issue a directive to all Local Government officials to ensure that no teacher is victimized for participating in this legal industrial action.

Sources unlike in previous meetings where teachers would be intimidated to return to classes, this time UNATU appeared strong-willed not to relent until they achieved their objectives.

And by the fact that government agreed to make such concessions was evident that UNATU had emerged victorious in the first stages of its quest for a higher pay for teachers.

It remains unclear if government will not renege on its promise. However, as year-ending exams draw closer, government might fear having a chaotic examination season.

UNATU congratulated teachers and “different support teams upon the successes so far registered in this industrial action.”

Tweheyo said the “Industrial action is a success and our ability to hold to our position has shown our strength. All through the 90 days ultimatum, government had not been willing to find the money until September 24, when a formal commitment was made.”

The Union clarified that the Industrial action is not off as has been aired out in the media, but suspended until the 20 percent salary increment is paid.

“We trust that H.E the President will not let down his 11.8 million children and teachers in this cause. 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.”

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