Science teachers say they are finding it hard not to blame UNATU for the interference with the salary increment process for the scientists in the teaching profession.
Under their umbrella body, Uganda professional science teachers Union -UPSTU, they are convinced that the Uganda National Teachers Union -UNATU has been on the forefront of blocking them from enjoying the salary increment targeting scientists in all government employment sectors.
President Museveni is on record when it comes to advocating for the scientists to be paid highly but also the government in 2010 came up with a policy that gave a top up allowance of 30% for scientists that was effected in 2012 and later consolidated into a salary structure in 2014.
Vicent Elong, the national chairperson of Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union -UPSTU says as scientists in the teaching profession under their union they are not going to look on as the UNATU leaders continue to sabotage them hence vowing to fight for their rights through their Union but also calling upon fellow teachers to embrace the initiative positively as it’s a milestone to the teaching profession in total.
This follows the presidential address during the teachers day celebrations at Kololo Airstrip where he said the government is planning to pay science teachers 4 million Shillings a month.
Now Elong indicates that they have had enough of the sabotage and are ready to defend their rights under their union that was fully established in 2021.
He explains that as scientists in the teaching profession they have only enjoyed the 30% increment that was effected in 2012 for scientists however, when it came to the 98 billion that was earmarked by government in the financial year 2017/18 to enhance the salaries of all scientists, teachers did not benefit due to UNATU sabotage.
In 2018, president Museveni proposed salary enhancement for scientist depending on their education qualifications which would see a science teacher earning over 2.2million shillings. However, this was not approved by parliament on grounds that it would be discrimination.
Currently a graduate science teacher earns gross pay 1.2 million shillings taxable, diploma science teachers earning 900,000 shillings while an Arts graduate teachers is paid 1.1million shilling and the Arts teachers diploma gets 780,000 UGX gross.
Filbert Baguma, the UNATU general Secretary says they are not against the move but they want the government to be realistic and present a clear plan that will cater for the teachers instead of using verbal words to promise the teachers.
Baguma says UNATU was a signatory to the collective bargaining agreement that was signed in 2018 to cater for the salary increment of all teachers including the other civil servants and it is this that UNATU wants the government to table before the teachers and not words.
He observes that what the president is doing now is identifying with one category against the other and this should not be encouraged.
Baguma argues that the clear plan to be presented should indicate how the government is planning to enhance salaries for all the teachers even when it is in a phased manner.
In 2018, the government came up with a five year plan to cater for the phased increase of salaries for all scientists and all other civil servants which was supposed to be completed by 2023 however, due to the covid-19 disruptions it is still unimplemented.