August 15, 2013

Govt Gives MAK Two Weeks Deadline To Reopen

The government of Uganda has given Makerere University’s governing council a deadline of two weeks to re-open the institution following the latter’s decision to close it indefinitely on Wednesday.

The decision to close the university was announced by the chairman of the University Council Dr. Charles Wana Etyem after an emergency meeting. The meeting had been called to discuss the ongoing staff strike that has brought work at the university to a halt.

Last Tuesday, Makerere staff under their umbrella body Makerere University Staff Association (MUASA) announced a resumption of their ‘gradual’ strike to demand a 100% increase in their salary, an action that has since paralyzed work at the institution.

Minister of Education and Sports Jessica Alupo
Minister of Education and Sports Jessica Alupo

However, in a press statement issued on Thursday by the Minister of Education and Sports Rtd Major Jessica Alupo, government is unable to meet the salary demands of the lecturers.

“Whereas Government is conscious of the importance of motivating workers, the demand of 100% salary increase is not affordable in the short term.” Alupo’s statement read in part.

In her statement, the minister says government supports the decision by the University’s governing council to close the institution saying:

“Under the circumstances, Government supports the decision taken by the University Council.”

The minister however reaffirmed government’s commitment to work with the university in order to finding a lasting solution to the problem and called on the university’s council to ensure that the institution reopens within two weeks.

“Government is committed to continue working with Makerere University towards finding practical solutions that will cause the re-opening of the University… Government urges the Governing council to take the necessary steps to ensure that the willing members of staff resume work in two weeks time.”

Below is the minister’s full statement

CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY FOLLOWING THE WITHDRAWAL OF LABOUR BY STAFF DUE TO DEMAND FOR 100% SALARY INCREMENT
Government has learned of the closure of Makerere University by the Governing Council on the 14th August 2013.

This has come as a result of Makerere University Staff demand and insistence on a 100% Salary increase.

Under the circumstances, Government supports the decision taken by the University Council.

Whereas Government is conscience of the importance of motivating workers, the demand of 100% salary increase is not affordable in the short term.

Government urges the Governing council to take the necessary steps to ensure that the willing members of staff resume work in two weeks time.

Government is committed to continue working with Makerere University towards finding practical solutions that will cause the re-opening of the University in the shortest time possible.

Students, parents and members of the public will be kept informed of the progress in this regard.

MAJ. (RTD.) ALUPO JESSICA ROSE EPEL (MP)
MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND SPORTS

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