MUK Staff Strike Over Shs46bn Arrears
By Venenscias Kiiza
Makerere university lecturers under their umbrella Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) have unanimously resolved to resume their sit-down strike with immediate effect, following management’s failure to clear their outstanding incentive arrears.
This was reached at during the staffs’ emergency general assembly on Tuesday evening at the school of education.
“In today’s MUASA emergency general assembly, we have considered the situation and agreed to lay down our tools effective midnight.
“We ask all the staff to stay home until our 8 months incentive arrears are all cleared.
“Council deceived us that they were to have a meeting on 21st of September to resolve our issue, which never occurred. This time we are not entertaining negotiations at all,” announced MUASA’S General Secretary Dr.Louis Kakinda.
The staff are demanding about shs46bn in incentive arrears.
They have also since set up a committee to oversee the strike which comprises of; Dr. Emily Bagarukayo, Dr. Innocent Ndibatya, Dr. Musana, Dr. Olupot, Dr. Ocitta, and one Robert Kakuru.
Makerere University lecturers went on sit-down strike on September 5, protesting council’s decision to cut their incentive allowances from 75% to 25%. On its 1st September meeting, council resolved that there should be 25% incentive retention for top management, directors, college leadership and academic staff and 50% incentive retention for administrative and support staff effectively.
The staff who had resolved not to teach both weekend and evening programs were however, convinced to go back to work, with management promising to solve their issue by 1st October.
MUASA had given the University Council ultimatum of one month to review the decision of cutting lecturers’ allowances by 75% and come up with a solution.
The 70-per-cent incentive arose from concerns by the staff, that some units were rewarding their staff (those in so-called ‘wet units) more than others, for extra work.
To end discontent in so-called ‘dry’ units, a uniform incentive was set, cutting the extra pay in the ‘wet’ units like COCIS, COBAMS and the college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology.
VC’S PLEA FALLS ON DEAF EAR
During the general assembly on Tuesday there was drama when deputy Vice chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration Prof Barnabus Nawangwe showed up for the meeting impromptu.
Nawangwe was later given platform to explain to the staff as to why the incentive had become a thorn to the university considering that it was broke.
However his explanations and pleas not to strike fell on a deaf ear.
The staff assured him that, nothing will hold them back from striking until their full money is paid.
In a letter that this reporter saw, from the vice chancellor Prof Ddumba responding to MUASA as to why he could not attend their General Assembly, he stated that, council is having a meeting on 31st (next week Monday) and that when their issues will be discussed.
He defended that council could not meet on 21st September as they had promised due to the visit of First Lady Janet Museveni.
Following a fulfilment of president Museveni pledge to enhance salaries for both academic and non-teaching staff with a professor, for instance, earning about Shs15m per month, the scrapping of incentives has been imminent.
The government subvention to these universities would also increase from Shs120bn to Shs300bn.
The president reportedly directed that “once government takes over the wage bill, pressure on increase of fees should be reduced and fees paid by students would cater for the other needs of the universities”.