Mao Calls for Living Wage for Workers

2069 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Democratic Party president Norbert Mao has called on government to set up a consistent wage policy for not only teachers but workers as a whole.

Democratic Party president Norbert Mao has called on government to set up a consistent wage policy for not only teachers but workers as a whole.

Mao says they are in solidarity with the teachers who called for a two day strike ending today over government’s failure to address their problems particularly a pay rise.

Last week teachers under their umbrella organisation—Uganda National Teachers Union—called for a two day strike. Government in the last financial year announced a 15% pay increase which the teachers snubbed and insisted on a 100% increment.

 The 15% increment means that the least paid teacher will earn about 360,000 shillings up from the current 270,000 shillings.

 Mao says the minimum wage as suggested by government should be in terms of a living wage and not just what the government can afford.

He stresses that its time government stops guessing how much workers should earn and instead put it in writing. 
 
//Cue in: “We blame this problem…
Cue out: …government can afford.”//

On Monday, Jessica Alupo, the Education Minister said teachers who dodged classes during the two-day countrywide strike will not be punished, retracting the earlier warning that they would be sanctioned.

Alupo said teachers who laid down tools were misled by the leaders of UNATU.

The teachers and UNATU leaders today held a procession from their offices along Bombo road, which they dubbed a “mourners’ walk” for the death of public education in the country.
Led by Rev. Fr. Dr. Silvestre Rwomukubwe, the executive director of the Uganda Joint Christian Council   and UNATU chairperson Margaret Rwabushaija, the group numbering about 120, marched to parliament where they had a tense one-hour discussion before delivering their petition to the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.
UNATU secretary Teopista Birungi noted that even though some schools opened, it was simply because they were intimidated. She added that there is a clear indicator that there is a problem which has not been attended to by the government.

The petitioners also want the Education Act 2008 amended to call on parents and guardians to start contributing towards feeding of their children in school.

Dr Zac Niringiye, retired Assistant Bishop of Kampala, says government is not doing a commendable job, which leaves most students in school studying on empty stomachs thus affecting their understanding and quality of education.

Richard Sewakiryanga, the Executive Director NGO Forum said government needs to implement the Public Service Act on negotiation and dispute resolution on salaries. This will enable the teachers negotiate their pay instead of government dictating the terms.
 
The petition also calls on government to build more pit latrines in schools and rehabilitate classrooms all over the country.