Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Bishop of West Buganda Anglican Diocese; The Rt Rev Henry Katumba Tamale, has called for a general salary scales review for all public servants, as a decisive solution to the recurrent strikes.
He is concerned that repeated action by different categories of civil servants is presenting grievous effects to the population that fails to access the much desired social services every time government workers strike.
Bishop Katumba’s advice comes over a week after primary and Arts teachers in secondary schools laid down their tools demanding enhancements of their salaries. Besides the teachers, health professionals, lecturers, and nonteaching staff in public universities have also repeatedly gone on strike to demand a pay rise.
Bishop Katumba says that the government needs to set up and operationalize a Salaries Review Commission to harmonize payments of all public servants, other than handling the problem in a piecemeal approach. According to him, the current salary structures create serious wage inequalities which will haunt the country for decades.
Bishop Katumba advised that in the meantime, the government should avoid being stiff-necked while handling teachers’ demands, but instead find ways of courteously engaging them in the interest of the parents and students who have become victims of circumstances.
On Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire ordered the striking teachers to return to their duty station by Friday, June 24, or risk being scrapped off the payroll. According to her communication, the government does not have money to cater for salary increments due to a limited budget.
But Herman Nsamba, the Headteacher at St Gregory Primary School Butende in Masaka says many of the teachers in the area did not show up as instructed on Friday, owing to the communication by their umbrella body of Uganda National Teachers Union-UNATU which advised them to stay home.
Nsamba has also asked the officers in the line ministries to avoid issuing coercive statements to teachers which may instead acerbate the situation at hand.