Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several teaching and non-teaching staff in different public education institutions are using school re-opening to remind the government about their unresolved salary demands and are threatening to stage strikes over these.
Before the closure of schools, there were different groups of staff in public education institutions fighting for salary enhancements and solving discrepancies. The groups include health tutors and clinical instructors, instructors in technical schools and academic and non-academic staff in public universities.
Health tutors and clinical instructors under their umbrella of medical educationists’ association have already resolved to go on strike over the government’s chronic failure to address their grievances.
According to Aeron Namaasa, medical educationists’ association chairperson, when medical educationists were transferred from the ministry of health to the ministry of education, there were some discrepancies in their salary scales as they changed from medical to post-primary salary scale.
Namaasa adds that after review of their petitions, two different inter-ministerial reports indicated that they should be reinstated on the medical salary scale which is yet to be fulfilled. Namaasa explains that on the current scale, they get half of the pay they used to get while under the ministry of health.
In his letter dated October 2, Alex Kakooza, the permanent secretary ministry of education, tells the tutors that given the prevailing circumstances, the government was unable to handle their matter in the financial year 2020/2021.
Kakooza adds that they have resolved to engage their public service and finance counterparts to obtain additional resources to enhance the salaries of health tutors and clinical instructors to the same level of their counterparts in the health sector.
“This is to advise your membership to empathize with the prevailing national challenges and continue working to allow the government to conclude consultation,” the letter reads in part. However, the tutors have already refused to heed to his advice.
In the same development, non-teaching staff in public universities across the country have also threatened not to return to work should teaching resume before their salaries are enhanced.
Jackson Betihamah, the chairperson of public universities’ non-teaching staff executives’ forum, notes that although the government had promised to enhance salaries of all staff in public universities across the board, non-teaching staff were discriminated against when the government allocated 50 billion shillings to their teaching counterparts.
Betihamah adds that before the budgeting process was completed, they requested the government to reconsider the move but they were denied an audience with the relevant authorities.
In 2015, non-teaching staff staged industrial action that paralyzed the activities in public universities following the government’s similar decision to enhance the salaries of only teaching staff. If the matter is not urgently addressed, it is most likely to affect learners and timelines that the government had suggested to ensure that finalist complete their studies.