Government of Uganda through the ministry of public service has issued a directive through Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) to all striking teachers’ country wide to call off their strike and resume classes before 24th June 2022.
On 15th June, arts teachers under the directive of their umbrella body UNATU laid down tools in protest of what they termed as discriminatory salary enhancement by government to a section of teachers (science teachers) which is going to be affected in this financial year 2022-23.
In a letter addressed to the Secretary General of UNATU Filbert Baguma, Public service has reiterated it’s commitment to enhancing salaries of all public servants but focus has been put on science teachers who are most needed at this material time and has also informed striking teachers that their demands won’t be worked upon in this financial year 2022-23.
“We have no doubt that you agree that we need an educated work force in all aspects of life but more in the sciences. This in our view will attract and retain the crucial skill that is required by the country at this material time”- reads part of the statement
According to government, the current strike by Arts teachers is illegal and it contravenes several laws and mechanisms of negotiating particularly Sections 7(2)(a) and (b); and 8 (1) and (3) and the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act, 2008 and the Recognition Agreement
“The current Industrial Action by the members of UNATU is illegal and in breach of the principles and spirit of the law and particularly Sections 7(2)(a) and (b); and 8 (1) and (3) and the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Disputes Settlement Machinery Act, 2008 and the Recognition Agreement signed under this Act because neither has UNATU given a notice to strike nor had the Dispute Settlement Machinery been exhausted”-government further claims.
Government has also accused UNATU and it’s members of illegally closing down schools when they are not mandated to do so and has ordered all Chief Administrative Officers (CAO) to report any teacher absent from schools by the 30th of this month.
In light of all this with no immediate solution to the striking teacher’s demands, government has ordered the arts teachers to immediately return to classes or else they will be considered non employees by government and those not comfortable by the order can proceed to court.
“Any Government employed Teachers who does not comply to this call will be regarded as having abandoned duty and resigned from the Public Service in accordance with Section A-n (17) of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2021”- ordered Catherine Bitarakwate
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