The government has ordered the striking teachers to return to their duty stations by June 24 without fail or risk being scrapped off the payrolls.
In a letter dated June 22 addressed to the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), the Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary, Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, noted that whereas teachers, just like all other government employees, have the right and freedom to withdraw their labor, the union neither gave the government notice of the strike nor exhausted the dispute settlement mechanisms as required by the Public Service Negotiating, Consultative and Dispute Settlement Machinery Act.
“The claim that the strike has been ongoing since 2019 and hence there was no need for a new notice is both fallacious and not legally tenable. Secondly, we have noticed with concern that you and your members have decided to close schools. We wish to advise you that no teacher, whether on strike or not, has a right or justification to close a public school,” reads the letter in part.
Last Wednesday, the teachers, under their umbrella body, UNATU, kicked off their industrial action to protest what they termed as “discriminatory salary enhancement of teachers”.
UNATU demands equality and harmonization of salary enhancement among teachers of different subjects, support staff, and school administrators.
However, Bitarakwate disclosed that the teacher’s demands for a pay rise cannot be addressed in the coming financial year, whose budget has already been approved and passed.
“All employed teachers are advised to resume duty at their respective workstations. Any government-employed teacher who does not comply with this call will be regarded as having abandoned duty and resigned from public service,” she wrote.
She further stated that those who can’t work under prevailing terms are free to resign from service.