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Teachers threaten to strike over salaries

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th July 2011 03:00 AM

TEACHERS have petitioned the Government to raise their salaries so that they can cope with the skyrocketing cost of living.

TEACHERS have petitioned the Government to raise their salaries so that they can cope with the skyrocketing cost of living.

By Francis Kagolo and Agnes Nantambi

TEACHERS have petitioned the Government to raise their salaries so that they can cope with the skyrocketing cost of living.

Meeting in Kampala under their umbrella organisation (UNATU), the teachers’ representatives complained that the Government had ignored their plight for a long time.

UNATU brings together primary and secondary school teachers and tutors of teacher’s colleges, technical or vocational colleges and lecturers of Kyambogo University.

The union gave July 27 as the day to lay down their tools if their demands were not addressed.

Primary school teachers want a minimum of sh450,000 per month.

Currently, on average, a primary school teacher earns sh260,000 monthly, while secondary schools teachers earn about sh450,000.

Tutors in primary teachers’ colleges earn sh350,000 while those at national teachers’ colleges earn an average of sh500,000 a month.

In the meeting held at Bat Valley Primary School last Saturday, the teachers demanded 100% pay rise.

Uganda’s inflation rate currently stands at 15.8%, up from about 5% the same period last year.

"The current cost of living has outweighed our salaries. We have realised we cannot sustain ourselves,” said Teopista Birungi, the general secretary of UNATU.

Birungi, however, said the teachers would strike if the Government does not attend to their demands.

"We teach politicians, doctors, engineers and other professionals, but our salaries are very low compared to theirs, yet we shop from the same markets,” she said.

She warned officials in the education ministry to stop lamenting over the lack of funds for teachers’ pay.

She said: “If you have children, there is no way you can fail to look after them.”

Other teachers said President Yoweri Museveni promised to increase their salaries during the recent general elections, but they were shocked that their pay was not raised.

However, the education ministry yesterday said the teachers ought to be patient.

Aggrey Kibenge, the ministry’s undersecretary and spokesperson, explained that the ministry had little say about teachers’ salaries because as civil servants, their pay is set by the public service ministry.

“We are sympathetic to the teachers like we are to all other civil servants,” said Kibenge.

“But this is also a budget matter: even if the salaries are to be reviewed, there is a due process that must be followed.” he said.


Teachers threaten to strike over salaries

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