Political parties seek review of public sector wages

Political parties seek to increase salaries of low earning civil servants, especially primary and secondary school teachers. Net photo.

The salary structure among public servants should be revised in order to bridge the prevailing inequality in earning.

This is the plan being pushed by political parties as they seek to increase salaries of some low earning civil servants, especially primary and secondary school teachers.

“We see unfairness in wages among public servants,” said Christine Mukabunani, the president of the Social Party (PS) Imberakuri.

Mukabunani added that: “If you consider the work they [teachers] do and how demanding it is, you realise that there is injustice. The law on [public] wages should be revised.”

Mukabunani and other heads of political parties used the General Assembly of the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations (NFPO) to advance the proposal to review public sector wages.

The NFPO was held in Kigali on Thursday

The proposal by political parties to review the salaries of civil servants is the latest in a series of calls to increase teachers’ wages.

The National Union of Teachers in Rwanda (SNER), for instance, suggests that salaries of primary school teachers (beginners) be raised from the current Rwf40, 000 to Rwf150, 000 every month.

They argue that the current wage is not sufficient enough to cater for a teacher’s basic needs.

The Secretary General of SNER, Faustin Harelimana, recently told The New Times that in the1980s, a teacher would get Rwf1,000 more than any other public servant holding the same level of education or degree.

However, he added, since 2006, a teacher has been getting less salary than other civil servants.

Mukabunani said that: “The consequence is that a teacher might even give undeserving marks to a student [in exams] in exchange for some “inducement” money which can make a student pass undeservingly.”

 Commenting to the concerns raised by political parties, the Ombudsman, Anastase Murekezi, said that the inequality in public sector wages was an issue that government is aware of.

He said that government is implementing a new policy where it has halted the increase of salaries for high earning officials while progressively raising wages for those with lower pay.

“Small salary does not mean injustice. It can increase as the country’s financial resources grow. That is in contained in the salary policy,” Murekezi said.