MUK Dons, Non-Teaching Staff Clash Over Strike

Makerere University Academic Staff (MUASA) chairman Dr. Mohammed Kiggundu has asked the striking non-teaching staff to open the closed offices, to enable lecturers prepare for the next semester that begins Saturday this week.

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Addressing Journalists last week at Makerere university ,Kiggundu stressed that, although as academic staff  supports the non-teaching staff  salary enhancement strike, they ought to open up some offices such that they can also prepare or the  coming semester.

“It is very clear that as academic staff, we are not on strike, therefore we need to access our offices such that we prepare for the next semester which is soon beginning.

“We don’t have any reasons as to why we should not support the strike, but the fact is we have to prepare for work,” Dr. Kiggundu said.

Announcing their strike which has now entered a second week, the non-teaching staff at Makerere resolved that all custodians of various buildings including halls of residences should not open, Makerere security to handover to the police station, registrars should not give out provisional admission forms to joining students neither do they open their offices, and as well as the Directorate of ICT has resolved to shut down all internet facilities among others, which has since been implemented.

Responding to MUASA’s call, Fatumah Nakatudde, the chairperson Makerere Administrative Staff (MASA), said the decision whether to open offices for the academic staff will be determined by the strike executive committee when they sit.

“We don’t like strikes either, but we have been stretched to do so. There are supplementary budgets and budgetary omissions where they can get this money from. For us we need only Shs32bn, for this financial year, and to keep on implemented in the next financial years,” added Bruce Twesigye.

Last year, president Museveni promised a pay rise for all academic staff in public universities with a professor earning 15M pro-rata, a pledge that has been fulfilled with government allocating sh50b in the 2015/2016 national budget.

Whereas the presidential pay rise pledge emphasized only academic staff, the non-teaching staff looks at it as unfair, saying instead the president would have pledged to all public universities staff without segregating.

“On the salary increment, it was a general negotiation but the president decided to increase salary for only academic staff .But I believe they will be considered in the next financial year,” Dr. Kiggundu clarified.

They are demanding Shs32bn for this financial year 2015/2016 compared to 50bn that was allocated to the academic staff.

Speaking to Red Pepper last week, Jackson Betihamah, the chairman Public Universities’ Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum (PUNTSEF) said, they are willing to see off this academic year without reporting to their duties incase their salaries are not enhanced.

“We are not against anybody neither ambushing the government. We don’t mind laying down tools until next Financial Year, when the money will be available. This means that we shall not have educational services until next year, we shall not be intimidated,” Betihamah affirmed.

The government has since maintained that, the non-teaching staff will be considered in the next financial year.