Ugandan Teachers under their umbrella body Uganda National Teacher’s Union-UNATU have declared 5th October as the national day of mourning.
The decision came after UNATU officials failed to strike a compromise with officials from the ministries Education, Public service and Finance on the 20 percent teacher’s pay rise. 5th October is the World Teachers’ Day, a day when teachers all over the world celebrate the profession.
Shortly after storming out the meeting with the government officials, the UNATU delegation convened an impromptu meeting at Carol house, where it was resolved that there is no reason for celebrating.
Margaret Rwabushaija, the National Chairperson of UNATU says they had to take a stand as a steering committee because they found no reason for celebrating the day.
Rwabushaija says since government has abused every effort to improve the teacher’s welfare they are left with no option but to stay home and mourn from there. She says they will only celebrate if something better comes up before the day approaches. Rwabushaija has directed the teachers to use the money for the celebrations for better things.
James Tweheyo, the UNATU General Secretary has challenged the teachers to put the funds budgeted for the teachers’ day celebration to meaningful investments. Despite the fact that he didn’t disclose how much money had been budgeted for the occasion, he says the funds can even be enough to buy plots.
Tweheyo has also warned teachers not to be intimidated into submission. He says while other government officials clamor and fight for huge salary increments, teachers are only demanding for a small pay rise.