Science teachers have threatened to break away from the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), accusing their mother union of not supporting the Cabinet’s decision to increase the salaries of science teachers alongside other scientists.
UNATU has however warned the science teachers to go slow on matters of teachers’ welfare or risk falling prey to the divide and rule principle whose repercussion might negatively affect the education sector.
Last week, Cabinet passed a resolution increasing the salaries of scientists – including science teachers at secondary school.
Science teachers under their umbrella body; the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union – UPSTU who testify to be working under horrible environments emanating from lack of protective gears, poor facilitation and work overload, claim that despite the array of hope from government to enhance their salary, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) is watering down the efforts, a claim heavily refuted by UNATU.
UPSTU’s National Chairperson Delong Vincent has vowed to fight all those creating the obstacles.
“We are going to ensure we remove all the bottlenecks, all those obstacles, people who still want to take the country backwards, we will fight them and take them off because the country must be propelled to another level,” he said.
However, the General Secretary UNATU, Filbert Baguma says Government needs to streamline its promises to the teachers.
“The science teachers are not bowing down, reflecting on the past experience of 2018 when UNATU turned down resolutions of enhancing the salaries of science teachers and instead pushed for universal enhancement of salaries.
Delong adds that it has been four years since the government promised the increment of Science teachers salaries.
“It never worked and it’s four years down the road and surprisingly they want to come out again saying they will fight this again. But I want to assure the nation, that science teachers already have their union.”
To this Baguma responds, saying UNATU has “never blocked the salary and it is on record, we only demanded that before the government implements this new arrangement, let them first pay the debt of 2011.”
But with science teachers taking a separate footing from UNATU, where does it leave the education sector?
Baguma advises those science teachers should not dance to the tunes of government methods.
“you should not dance to the tunes of divide and rule, we should consolidate our unity and solidarity and make sure that together we achieve more.”
The increment comes at a time government is pushing through a program of promoting sciences across the board.