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Ignore fake ‘union notice’ of 2024 national strike by Ugandan teachers

IN SHORT: Pupils and parents will be relieved to know that a strike notice allegedly issued by a major teachers’ union ahead of the new school year has no basis.

The Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) has announced a nationwide strike on 5 February 2024, the start of the first term, according to a graphic posted on X (formerly Twitter).

The graphic also says the walkout will continue until their demands for a pay rise are met.

It reads: “This is to inform the general public that there will be No attendance of teachers in schools countrywide effective 5 Feb 2024 until the government increases the teachers’ salaries. All our teachers should #Stayhome until we make a pronouncement. Parents should not send children to school until the matter is resolved.”

The graphic, in Unatu colours, also includes a photo of the union’s general secretary, Filbert Baguma.

Unatu has been campaigning for several years for its members to be paid more.

In 2011, the Ugandan government committed to a phased wage increase over three financial years. The proposals were for increases of 15% in the first year, 20% in the second year and 15% in the third year.

In 2021, president Yoweri Museveni ordered that science teachers be the first to receive a pay rise of almost 300%. This caused discontent among other teachers, who went on a nationwide strike demanding pay rises, equality and harmonisation. 

The strike was called off after Museveni insisted that the government could only afford to raise the salaries of science teachers.

But the issue of pay has proved contentious over the years, with teachers often on strike or threatening to go on strike. Is the union planning another strike? We checked.


Fake notice

The ministry of education refuted the claim via its official X account.

“#FakeNews Please disregard the fake industrial action notice being circulated by @UNATU_ORG! Please note that the start of term 1, academic year 2024/2025 is set for 5 February 2024,” the ministry wrote.

Ministry spokesperson Dennis Mugimba, using his official X account, also called the notice fake.

The union has also distanced itself from the claimed strike.

On 6 February 2024, Ugandan national media reported that schools had reopened as planned, despite a low turnout of pupils.

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