Following months of deliberations characterized by industrial action and extension of opening dates; the non-teaching staff in public universities are finally smiling after President Yoweri Museveni backed their plea for salary increment, just like the academic staff.
In a letter that this reporter saw dated 3rd September, signed by president Museveni authorizing a salary rise for the support staff.
In the letter, Museveni directed finance minister to include an increment for the non-teaching staff in the next financial year estimates.
This followed their meeting with president Museveni on August 28 at Mbale State Lodge.
“Salaries for the Non-Teaching Staff should be enhanced in an appropriate manner,” the letter reads in part.
Museveni also directed the minister to pay the staff increment arrears for the 2015/16 financial year.
According to the letter, the salaries for the non-teaching staff had not been enhanced “due to other urgent and critical demands”. The staff are demanding shs32b, in arrears for this financial year.
“The arrears arising out of the non-payment of enhanced salaries due to the non-teaching staff for the FY2015/16 be paid together with the enhanced salaries in FY2016/17,”.the letter concludes.
Accusing government of discrimination, the support staff in all the five public universities – Makerere, Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu and Mbarara University of Science and Technology with over 4000 employees as non-teaching staff – had laid down their tools on August 3.
They later suspended the strike on 21stAugust to pave way for negotiations with government.
The resolution was reached at following a meeting by the Public Universities non-teaching staff executive Forum (PUNTISEF) with the Inspector General of Police.
Addressing the non-teaching staff on Tuesday at Makerere University main hall, the Inspector General of Police who was the link between the non-teaching staff and the president, assured them that, government is committed to fighting injustices at all levels and as well to ensure quality lives for all government workers.
He thanked the non-teaching staff for not ambushing police by striking at the time when few days could be left for students to report, just like the case for the academic staff.
“I thank PUNTISEF for their diplomatic approach to this matter and let this established partnership remain strong such that we can always solve such issues amicably. This is a directive by the president and it must be implemented. The president agreed to work on the staff issues,” Gen Kayihura told the non-teaching staff members.
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.
The non-teaching staff noted that the segregation of enhancing salary for one category of staff and leaving out others was discriminatory, unfair, demotivating and destroys team work which will negatively affect the achievement of the institutions’ goals and objectives.
With the enhanced salary the least paid workers such as cooks, and cleaners will see their salaries rise from 310000 to 480000 for those in the scale of M20, while the administrative staff such as the academic registrars, Dean of students will see their salary being increased to that of a professor.