Parliament to Discuss Teacher's Pay Today

In his statement, Muruli told parliament that there has been a notable increase in the pay of Public Officers over the years and that Cabinet considered prioritizing the enhancement of scientists including science teachers in the financial year 2022/2023.
The Minister of Public Service, Wilson Muruli Mukasa.

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Parliament is expected to discuss a motion later today on the education sector and come up with specific resolutions on the pay of teachers.  

On Wednesday, the speaker, Anita Among tasked five legislators including the Education Committee Chairperson, John Twesigye Ntamuhiira, the Public Service Committee Chairperson, Godfrey Onzima, Erute South MP, Jonathan Odur, Shadow Minister of Education, Brenda Nabukenya, and Workers representative, Agnes Kunihira to draft and present a motion and resolutions to the house for consideration.

She issued the directive following an extensive debate on a statement delivered by the Minister of Public Service, Muruli Mukasa regarding the salary enhancement for science teachers and the industrial action by the Uganda National Teachers Union –UNATU.

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In his statement, Muruli told parliament that there has been notable increase in the pay of Public Officers over the years and that Cabinet considered prioritizing the enhancement of scientists including science teachers in the financial year 2022/2023. 

“The scientists are crucial and needed immediately in supporting agriculture, industry, information and communications technology (ICT) and infrastructural development. It is those sectors, as they expand, that will give us the money (in form of taxes) that will enable us to cover more priorities including paying all the Public Servants better,” the Minister said.

Muruli said that government through the Office of the Vice President, Prime Minister, Ministries of Public Service and Education and Sports has and continues to hold a number of engagements with key stakeholders in order to resolve the issues raised by the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU).

He added that government is committed to implementing the pay plan approved by Cabinet in 2017, within the medium term, concerning all teachers including primary school teachers and employees in the entire Public Service.

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However, the Shadow Minister of Education, Brenda Nabukenya, said that the move to treat workers of the same level such as teachers of a Senior 5 class differently is in total contravention of Articles 21 and 40 (2) of the Constitution, which provide for equity amongst Ugandans who are providing similar services.

“The Minister's Statement is full of Government's wish to transform the country through science against humanities. This is being made without evidence from anywhere in the World,” said the Luwero Woman MP.

Nabukenya recommended the fast-tracking of the establishment of the Salaries Review Commission to streamline earnings for all public officers. She also recommended that government respects the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was signed with the different workers bodies in 2018 and commit resources to fulfill the promises made there under.

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Cecilia Ogwal, the Dokolo Woman MP asked the Minister to provide parliament with a clear action plan by government regarding concerns of teachers. Stephen Kangwagye, the Bukanga County also expressed concern about the discriminatory pay rise in the education sector.

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Agnes Kunihira, Workers Representative said that she was part of the negotiating team with UNATU and government. She told parliament that the Minister’s statement bares no fresh plan by the government and demanded that teachers are treated equally by government.

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On Monday, teachers under the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) called off their strike that started on June 15th, 2022 to compel the government to enhance their salaries with equity across the board. The strike resulted from the government's decision to increase the pay for science teachers nearly by 300 percent in disregard of their colleagues in arts and humanities.

The increment saw the government increase the pay for graduate and grade V science teachers to 4 million Shilling and 3 million Shillings up from 1.1 million Shillings and 796,000 Shillings respectively. During negotiations, teachers proposed that the government should either provide an additional budget to increase the salary of art teachers or, for the sake of justice, split the available wage bill of 95 billion shillings among all teachers. 

The wage bill was set aside to enhance the salaries of science teachers and if equally shared among the 169,000 teachers on the payroll, each would get a pay raise of Shillings 46,800. Following a meeting between UNATU leaders and President Yoweri Museveni at Kololo Independence Grounds on Monday, the teachers resolved to call off their strike. During the meeting, President Museveni told teachers that the government has already provided a position on their demands and it will not reverse it.

"We have provided a position as government and pledged to competitively remunerate workers guided by a science-led strategy, this does not mean we have forgotten others, but we are choosing to prioritize the few and others can come later," the President said. "We must finish one problem at a time." 

Museveni disagreed with the idea of sharing the available funds, saying that the argument doesn’t hold any sense. "The Arts teachers insist that we should use the available resources to improve salaries across the board, whilst this is possible, it does not solve the salary issue. It is okumemerera (sprinkling), where everyone will get a little and then next year everyone strikes," Museveni said. 

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