Ugandan Teachers Warn of Imminent Strike

UNATU SG James Tweheyo [C] with fellow teachers at a recent function in Kampala

Ugandan teachers under their umbrella body, recipe view UNATU, have threatened to hold a strike after government reportedly fell short of honouring its promise of increasing their salaries by 10 percent in the 2015/16 financial year.

“It seems that Government is unwilling to amicably honour their commitments to the teachers,” warned UNATU Secretary General, James Tweheyo, who has previously led teachers in sit-down strikes over salaries.

“We advise all teachers to remain stead fast and wait for communication on the action to be undertaken when the 90 days’ ultimatum given to Ministry of Education expire on 13th April 2015.”

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Tweheyo further stated that, “The National Executive Council and all teacher leaders will be sitting in a fortnight to determine the next course of action. The teachers of this country have been taken for granted for far too long and the time for action is now.”

UNATU said it made an agreement with Government to the effect that teachers’ salaries would be enhanced across three financial years to a tune of 50 percent.

In the financial year 2012/13, 15 percent was effected across the board to all civil servants, 25 percent in 2014/15 and 10 percent was meant to be given in 2015/16.

Tweheyo noted that, “It has come to our attention that the final budget call circular does not include the teachers’ 10 percent salary increment despite constant reminders from UNATU. It is very unfortunate that the teachers of Uganda have been reduced to almost nothing because what is promised is fast becoming an endless struggle to achieve. One wonders why this Government ‘enjoys’ the continuous conflict with the teachers. What benefits are there to reap from the teachers’ dissatisfaction? We have duly communicated this anomaly to the Hon. Prime Minister and all the other relevant centers,” he added.

He also spoke about the teachers’ SACCO funds which he said “have become ‘the song of the day’ that plays on and on without ending. We thank the Rt Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda for intervening in the matter though these efforts seem to be in vain.”

In this meeting, it is reported that Education Minister Jessica Alupo was directed to assess the capacity of Uganda Teachers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative Union (APEX) and that if they have the capabilities, they should be left to manage the fund.

If found lacking, it was agreed that capacity building should be concentrated on as they progressively manage the fund.

Tweheyo said this was to be done through engagement with UNATU leadership in constructive dialogue and that the Minister was given one month effective 3rd March 2015 within which to report back to the Prime Minister.

“We have only had a single meeting with the Ministry which has so far bred no results and as a result, the funds are entering the third year of redundancy caused by the adamancy of the Hon. Minister of Education. To us, this is not only unfair but it appears as if it is a deliberate effort by government to keep the funds and frustrate the teachers’ expectations,” warned Tweheyo.

Government has previously expressed fears over committing billions of funds in teachers’ SACCOs, saying they don’t have the ability to manage the huge sums of money.

Minister Alupo was not readily available for comment.

UNATU demands:

  • Facts be separated from fiction and malice in this issue. UNATU does not want to control the Teachers’ SACCO funds as is being ‘fronted’ by MOES. On contrary, the Union is lobbying for the funds to be managed by the Apex union of the Teachers’ SACCOs countrywide. UNATU is only a voice for these teachers.
  • The funds should be rechanneled to Uganda Teachers Savings and Credit Cooperative Union (APEX) for management and onward release to Teachers SACCOs.
  • The agreement and the guidelines between MOES and MFSC be rescinded. The entire Agreement clearly indicates that the fund is revolving to benefit the Fund Manager at the expense of the intended beneficiaries.
  • The funds should be sent teacher’s SACCOs through the Apex of all the teachers’ SACCOs at 0 percent interest. The SACCOs will subsequently charge 1 percent per month (12 percent) per annum to the teachers’ who are ultimate beneficiaries of the fund.


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