Non Teaching Staff In Public Universities Call Off Strike

The non-teaching staffs in all public universities have unanimously suspended their industrial action for a period of one month pending government negotiations.

Members of PUNTISEF executive after calling off the strike on Friday
Members of PUNTISEF executive after calling off the strike on Friday

The resolution was reached at on Friday evening at Makerere University  following a meeting by the Public Universities non-teaching staff executive (PUNTISEF) on Thursday night with the Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura.

The president is expected to meet them next week for further negotiations.

“The non-teaching staff in public universities under our umbrella Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive forum (PUNTSEF) in the benefit of public interest, students and parents at large, has unanimously resolved to suspend the ongoing strike by our members for a period of one month ending on 20th September, 2015,” announced Jackson Betihamah, the PUNTSEF chairman.

“This follows a meeting we had with the Inspector General of Police in the spirit of public order management but not the government directive and intimidation through university councils,” he added.

They are demanding shs32b,for this financial year.

The Forum’s executive secretary Bruce Tukamushaba said that in the meeting with the IGP they agreed to meet the president next week and among the demands, they want government to put the salary increment pledge into formal writing and duly signed, Government to offer them 50% of salary increment in this financial year or be given 100% increment in the next financial year, contrary to what prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda had promised them.

In a meeting with prime minster they had been promised a pay rise, however, the enhanced salaries will accumulate as arrears this financial year, only to be cleared during the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 fiscal years.

“In case, the negotiations fail to bear fruits, we shall resume the strike on 20th, September 2015,”Bruce said.

Uganda has got six public universities namely; Busitema University, Gulu University, Kyambogo University, Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Muni University, with over 4000 employees as non-teaching staff.

The strike had seen all public Universities opening dates at least extended by one week, however all the staff had been appealed to, to resume work immediately.

The staff expressed their disappointment on receiving news that the salary increment which the president pledged last year was supposed to be for all public universities staff but not only a section of academic staff only.

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.

They noted that the segregation of enhancing salaries for one category of staff and leaving out others is discriminatory, unfair, demotivating and destroys team work which will negatively affect the achievement of the institutions’ goals and objectives.

In a petition dated  April 19th that was presented to the speaker of parliament through the clerk, the staff observed that the proposed enhancement will be in gross violation of the principle of equal opportunity and a clear act of open discrimination among the three categories of staff of public universities of Uganda.

“We request that the proposed gradual enhancement of the salaries should cover all the categories of the workers in all public universities on pro-rata to enable us to avoid the pain staking and laborious industrial and court action by all public universities including the upcoming new ones Muni and Soroti.”The petition read

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