Local Government minister Raphael Magyezi has revealed that government has reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked by today evening if they do not get back to class.
This is the second directive the government is issuing in less than a week to have the striking teachers return to class or get sacked.
The first directive was issued on June 22 by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, who directed the teachers to return to the classroom or resign or seek legal redress within. But the teachers continued with their strike.
Addressing local government leaders and chief administrative officers from the greater Mbarara District about the Parish Development Model yesterday, Mr Magyezi said the striking teachers will lose their jobs if they fail to turn up and their jobs advertised immediately.
“As government, we have agreed that all those that will not have returned to class by today (Tuesday), will have absconded from duty henceforth, sacked and their jobs will be advertised,” he said.
He added: “We have issued directives to all chief administrative officers, district education officers, district inspector of schools, sub-county and parish chiefs to go to all schools and compile lists of all those that have refused to return to class and teach.”
“You are being paid more than teachers in private schools, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we continued to pay you. Why didn’t you refuse this money? You cannot hold the government at ransom when discussions and negotiations to have your grievances addressed are ongoing,” he said.
He added: “By Tuesday evening, submit the teachers to my ministry for further management, including advertising these positions.”
Mr Magyezi asked local leaders to support the government in ensuring public workers don’t frustrate government efforts on service delivery.
Mbarara District chairperson Didas Tabaro said though teachers are fighting a good cause, they should not be neglecting their responsibilities.
“Government has already given its position and agreed on the negotiations on how best the teachers’ salary enhancement will be addressed in a phased manner. The President has even made a directive to that effect. These interventions would have been convincing enough to enable teachers to return to class rather than making children continue to suffer,” he said.
The district education officer, Mr Gabriel Ahimbisibwe, said they were yet to formally receive the latest directive from the minister.
Unatu’s general secretary, Mr Filbert Baguma, says Arts teachers will continue with the strike unless their issues are addressed.
Mr Baguma added that those who believe that their strike is illegal should take the case to court. Arts teachers went on strike on June 15