Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa has questioned the legality of government’s order to striking teachers to return to class or face dismissal, arguing that the industrial action hasn’t created any insecurity, led to loss of life or destruction of any property.
“I hope Public Service has read the law very well and has read the constitution well. If they delete anybody from the payroll because she or he hasn’t gone back to school, or if they terminate the employment contracts of those teachers because they haven’t gone back to teach, as per these threatening communications, then let them expect a barrage of law suits against government and it is the tax payer who is going to suffer,” Basalirwa said.
He also warned the Public Service ministry against occasioning losses to the taxpayer by engaging in illegalities of threatening to fire striking teachers, arguing that it is Government’s letter that is illegal and not the actions of the teachers.
“Some of us are prepared to defend the teachers. I would advise government to choose the path of negotiations, intimidation, threats, name calling isn’t going to solve this issue because at the end of it all, it is the soul we should appeal to, if the teachers are compelled to go back to class when their souls are elsewhere, our children are going to get a raw deal,” Basalirwa said.
Government yesterday gave striking teachers 2 days to return to work or face dismissal. In a strongly worded letter addressed to the general secretary Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATO), the government ordered striking teachers to resume duty at their stations by June, 24th without fail.
“Any government employed teacher who does not comply to this call will be regarded as having abandoned duty and resigned from the Public Service…,” the letter read in part.
The Arts teachers have been on strike since June 15, over what they termed as discriminatory salary enhancement that is contrary to the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2018. They accuse the government of enhancing salaries of science teachers by over 300 percent while adding nothing to the Arts teachers.