Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) has Tuesday afternoon called off the countrywide teachers strike.
The announcement was made by UNATU Secretary General, James Tweheyo, at the teachers house in Wandegeya where they were meeting government officials.
According to Tweheyo, government has agreed to meet a 5% pay rise on the promised salary increment.
Government was represented by Ministers Jim Muhwezi (Information and National Guidance) and David Bahati (State Minister of Finance for Planning).
Tweheyo said all teachers across the country are expected to return to school tomorrow, Wednesday morning.
In a meeting which was airing live on NBS TV, it was agreed that 16% raise be met in the F/Y 2016/17 and that the UNATU would be allowed to manage the teachers’ SACCO.
UNATU chairpersons have been arrested in Mbarara and Kabale districts over the teachers strike that entered a second week on Monday.
Tweheyo said all those detained will be released with immediate effect.
Speaking at the meeting minister Muhwezi promised to work closely with teachers to build the nation.
“It is wrong to believe that government does not appreciate the work of teachers because we too have relatives who are teaching,” he said.
“This government is the government that cares for its citizens and will continue doing so.”
He said government has allowed teachers, under their union, to manage their savings which was one for the demands that led to the industrial action.
“After consultation with the head of state, government has agreed to advance 15% pay rise in the 2015/206 financial year.”
On the other hand Tweheyo said teachers cannot accept government’s claims to lack funds and yet “we see them splashing it on the other hand”.
“When you sympathize with the government that they don’t have money and the next day you see them dishing it out, you lose confidence.”
“Teachers win the battle for pay rise but continue to condemn government’s late response,” he noted, adding, “Commitments are broken by the government without informing us on what is happening and this is what annoys us.”
In June 2014, government honoured their 2011 pledge to increase teachers’ salaries after years of disappointment.
Then Finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka, allocated Shs 1.699.4 trillion to education sector to enhance the quality of education.
Out of this, Shs215 billion went to meet the teachers’ pay rise promised in 2011 following an industrial action after government could not meet their demand of 100 per cent salary increment.
The salary increment was to be done in three consecutive years at 15 per cent, 20 per cent and 15 per cent.
This was not met prompting teachers to announce a sit-down strike.
Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports said that out of 50% of the salary increment promised by Government, 40% had been paid on top of 6.8 billion shillings for SACCO’s for every teacher in Uganda as promised by H.E The President of Uganda but teachers insisted on being paid all of it.