By Max Patrick Ocaido
Workers’ MPs have backed teachers on the ongoing salary enhancement strike until their request is included in the 2019/2020 Financial Year budget.
On Monday, teachers declared their strike ahead of the new term following government’s lack of commitment to respond to their salary enhancement demands.
In a joint press conference held at parliament with the chairperson General, Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) Milton Turyareeba, Workers’ MPs urged government to respond to the demands of the teachers as soon as possible.
“The teachers are not demanding so much. It is normal that things are changing and when such changes happen then it must come with change in money. You cannot remain static yet prices of commodities and goods are changing. So it is just inevitable for teachers to demand for more pay,” Arinaitwe Rwakajara said.
Rwakajara, who is also a parliamentary commissioner, said that the next financial budget should not be passed by parliament until teachers’ demands are included.
“We are going to lobby our colleagues, we are going to demand to make sure this budget is not passed before considering all sectors that are really in need including the salary enhancement of workers,” he said.
MP Margaret Rwabushaija called upon government to meet teachers’ union and address their matter before school officially opens.
“Our teachers through their union way back in February gave government a 90 day notice and it was incumbent upon them to meet the stakeholders and explain why it has been difficult for them to accomplish what they promised. But government has kept quiet,” Rwabushaija said.
COFTU boss Turyareeba said that if government does not respond to teachers demands by 27th May, they will mobilize teachers to continue with their strike.
“We had objected to selective salary enhancement, but when we agreed that let it be selective and in three phrases so that everyone is brought on board then we accepted. But despite that, then the second phrase is not being honoured,” Turyareeba said adding that government is not broke, but the problem emanates from appropriation.
“We are calling upon parliament not to pass this budget before ensuring that the issue of salary enhancement for all the workers as stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement are considered. And massively if these issues are not considered then come 27th May, we shall massively join the teachers countrywide in the strike,” Turyareeba added.