The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga has appealed to government to give equitable pay to both Arts and Science teachers in order to solve the current strike in schools.
While addressing the Buganda Lukiiko on Monday, Mayiga said that Arts teachers are equally important to the nation as those of Sciences since professions in the different fields of study complement each other.
The Katikkiro said that when Scientists develop medicines, they need people like Accountants, marketers, human resource managers and other people from professions under the Arts.
Mayiga said that as a matter of urgency, government needs to start a process of addressing the huge disparities in the existing government salary structures. He said that this will help solve the rampant strikes by civil servants who receive different pay yet they are at the same level.
This statement comes at a time when classes at different schools remain under lock and key despite the government pressure on teachers to return to class or risk losing their jobs.
Last week, teachers under the Uganda National Teachers Union laid down their tools to compel the government to give them equitable pay across the board. The strike continues despite threats from different government officials to scrap the teachers off the payroll unless they return to class.
In a circular addressed to teachers last week, Catherine Bitarakwate, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service gave the striking teachers an ultimatum to return to duty in two days or resign from duty.
According to Bitarakwate, teachers who would abscond from duty after the two days would automatically be considered absent and risk being scrapped off the payroll. She asked Chief Administrative Officers and town clerks to carry out inspections and take note of the teachers who are absent.
Members under UNATU are striking in protest of what they are referring to as the government’s unfair salary structure and demand for a review of the proposed pay plan for all teachers regardless of their teaching subjects.
While reading the budget for the financial year 2022/2023, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija noted that the government had enhanced salaries for science teachers. The increment saw graduate science and grade V teachers’ pay pushed 4 million shillings and 3 million shillings up from shillings 1.1 million and 796,000 shillings respectively.