Teachers in many schools in Uganda are on strike this week as their salaries have not been paid since April. This present strike is separate from a strike which is planned for September if a 20% payrise which has long been promised is not forthcoming.

Like their colleagues in the recent strike in Kenya, teachers command a lot of support for their struggle for decent salaries. The National Organisation of Trade Unions has already said it will join teachers in their strike in September if the government does not give them the rise promised. However far from acknowledging the need to pay teachers properly, employers have failed to pay them at all in many schools, resulting in the present strike. The Ugandan National Union of Teachers has warned parents not to send their children to school while the teachers are on strike. They say that unpaid salaries mean that teachers have to strike all over the country.

While not paying teachers a living wage - some teachers have actually had their salaries cut from $139 to $119 a month according to reports - the government is bringing in a new system whereby tenure is dependent on 'performance.' Teachers point out that this is an impossible situation when they are not being given the tools to do the job. Such systems are bad and unfair enough in the North - how much worse in schools where teachers are not paid a living wage, where many schools have not got the most basic equipment and facilities and where class sizes are huge?