More than 115 teachers in Mayuge district have threatened to abandon their classroom duties if their salary arrears are not paid soon.
The angry teachers, who pitched camp at the district headquarters last week, say they are tired of the district’s promises to pay them, but nothing has been done.
The deputy head teacher of Kaluba high school, Jessica Tabingwa, said she was last paid in October 2016 and has been surviving on what are called empty promises.
“I last received salary in October last year and whenever I demand my pay … I’m instructed to come tomorrow and my efforts have been frustrated,” said Tabingwa. “For God’s sake, where can I get the strength and courage to teach other people’s children yet mine are seated at home?”
Twaha Masuba, a teacher from Lukindu primary school, explained that many of his colleagues were under threats from several banks after defaulting on salary loans.
"Since our salaries are not coming through and the banks have started sending us warning messages, we are not going back to classrooms until our salaries have been settled in our accounts to reduce pressure,” Masuba said.
When contacted, the district chairperson of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union, Bashir Kayeyera, called on the government to save the situation before it is too late.
“It is any teacher’s right to receive salary after work, not a privilege as the situation is being portrayed by our bosses,” Kayeyera said. "For now we are laying down our tools but if the situation worsens, all of us are willing to proceed to courts of law.”
However, when contacted, the Mayuge district personnel Officer, Paul Muzige, blamed the situation on the new payment system.
“I know that I am responsible for the payment of all civil servants in the district but I am finding a problem with this new IPPS system that faded out some of the teachers' names and accounts but I am working hard to recover them,” Muzige said.
Mayuge is among the worst-performing districts in the country, registering 23 per cent failures in PLE exams.