Teachers have rejected a 14% pay rise proposed by government.
By Francis Kagoro
The 14% teachers’ pay rise which the ministry of education indicated in its budgetary proposal for the coming financial year is “inhuman and undermines teachers’ dignity”, Teopista Birungi, the teachers’ union (UNATU) general secretary, has said.
Addressing the press at UNATU headquarters in Kampala on Thursday, Birungi blasted the Government for deviating from the ‘fair’ salary increment earlier agreed upon with UNATU.
The bickering, which is feared to degenerate into another teacher’s strike, comes a few days to the opening of second term on Monday.
MPs on the social services committee this week kicked out education ministry officials after they presented budget estimates with the least paid teacher to get a maximum pay rise of sh30,000 in the coming financial year.
Consequently, the least paid primary teacher would earn sh301,000 after taxes, up from sh267,300, while a grade 4 head teacher would take home sh349,208 from shs326,973 after taxes.
However, early this year, the Government, in Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s presentation to Parliament, had committed itself to increase teachers’ salaries by at least 30% in the coming financial year following a countrywide strike.
Birungi and UNATU president Margaret Rwabushaija said it was dehumanizing for the government to increase salary by a mere sh30,000, in disregard to the current economic state characterized by sky-high cost of living.
“What is 15% salary increment in a 30% inflation situation? Is it realistic?” asked Birungi.
“We maintain our demand for sh500,000 for the lowest paid teacher and negotiate for the proportionate increment for the rest of the other teacher categories,” said Birungi.
Citing the reduced percentage share of the national budget for education from 17% in 2007/2007 to 14% in 2011/2012, the duo said it was unfortunate that public education is no longer a priority in government public service expenditure.
They warned that the peanut payrise may kill the teachers’ morale and condemn Ugandan children ‘into a deliberate academic death trap’.
Teachers reject 14% pay rise