Uganda primary and secondary teachers have declared a nation-wide sit-down strike beginning Thursday May 14, 2015.
The teachers are protesting government’s failure to increase their salaries as earlier promised.
Through their umbrella body, Uganda National Teachers Union, teachers days back wrote to President Museveni withdrawing their interest in the Shs 25bn the president has been channelling to the teachers Savings and Credit Co-operative -SACCO.
James Tweheyo, the Secretary General of UNATU, accuses the ministry of education of trying to arm-twist teachers in the process of channelling the Shs 25bn.
The teachers union wants the money sent directly to the teachers SACCO’s account while the ministry procured a fund manager, the Microfinance Support Centre, to do the job.
Education minister, Jessica Alupo, said government funds cannot be put into private hands where, the institution cannot be held accountable.
In January this year, the teachers issued a 90 day ultimatum to the ministry, demanding that their money be channelled through the Apex SACCO, the UNATU SACCO but the ministry ignored them.
Addressing press at the teachers’ house in Kampala today, Tweheyo said they have now embarked on a sit down strike until their grievances have been addressed.
Tweheyo said they rejected the Micro finance support Centre because it charges them very high interest rates.
They are also demanding a 10% salary increment from government or they wont step in class this second term.
“We have ably established that Government has not considered the teachers’ 10% salary increment on the budget for FY 2015/16 as agreed to with UNATU despite constant reminders,” Tweheyo said.
“On thorough analysis of the final Budget Call circular for FY 2015/16, we noted that Government had saved over 200bn from clean-up of the payroll; a process that was pushed for by UNATU. In our negotiation meetings with H.E the President, we agreed that such savings should be spent on increment of teacher salaries as well as other sectors. We have also noted with concern that the distribution of the said savings has not been agreed to by the National Negotiation and Consultative Council.”
He demanded that the savings from the clean-up of the payroll be reallocated to cater for; the teachers’ 10% salary increment for FY 2015/16, enhancement of Local health facilities (Health Centre 2) which are currently receiving only UGX 200,000/= per quarter, among other needs.