Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday evening met with Uganda National Teacher’s Union-UNATU officials to resolve the impasse over the teacher’s pay rise, Red Pepper Online has learnt.
Sarah Kagingo, the Special Presidential Assistant on Communications said Museveni summoned UNATU officials to State House Entebbe for negotiations to prevent them from resuming their countrywide strike.
Last month, teachers across the country laid down their tools to demand a 20 percent pay rise from government as promised by President Yoweri Museveni in the 2011.
The strike paralyzed learning across the country forcing government to plead with teachers to call off the strike as the negotiations continue. The teachers agreed to suspend the strike for 28 working days as they negotiate with government over the pay rise.
While suspending the strike, James Tweheyo, the UNATU secretary general said government had pledged to honor its pledge to give the teachers a pay rise.
He warned that they would resume the strike should nothing positive come out of their negotiations. However, on Tuesday teachers in Masaka threatened to disrupt UNEB examinations, which are scheduled to start today. It came after the teachers received information that government would only effect the pay rise in the next financial. The threats by the teachers to resume the strike prompted Museveni to convene an impromptu meeting with UNATU leaders at Entebbe.
Sarah Kagingo said more than 100 officials attended the meeting. She explained that Museveni negotiated with UNATU officials to allow government to implement the pay rise in the next financial year because the available funds have already been committed to other sectors such as roads and energy.
Moses Nsereko Ssebuliba, the greater Masaka UNATU chairperson and his secretary general Mathias Mukasa confirmed traveling to Entebbe for the meeting.
Ssebuliba told local media on phone from Entebbe prior to the meeting that they expected their national leaders to inform Museveni that teachers need a pay rise as soon as possible.
Mathias Mukasa, the Greater Masaka UNATU general secretary said they also wanted Museveni to deal with government officials who are threatening to sack teachers for demanding for their rights. He singled out several RDCs and Education minister Jessica Alupo, who he accused of using military language against teachers.
On Wednesday, while president over Independence Day Celebrations in Rukungiri, President Yoweri Museveni said despite the fact that government has money, it can’t give the teachers a pay rise because there is a lot to be done in other sectors.