The public Universities non-teaching staff has down played the government offer to increase their salaries to match that of the academic staff.
In the meeting on Wednesday between the non-academic staff under their umbrella body, Public Universities Non-teaching Staff Executive Forum (PUNTSEF) and the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the staff declined to accept the government offer immediately saying they would seek guidance from their constituencies.
In the meeting the non-teaching staff were 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.
Jackson Betihamah, the chairperson of PUNTSEF however stated that, much as they were not happy with the government offer, they would seek the guidance of their constituencies before taking a stand by Monday.
The meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala was also attended by finance minister Matia Kasaija and Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa, the state minister for higher education.
“We are still on strike and we are still negotiating. We are not happy. How can we wait up to the next financial year when our colleagues are receiving their money,” said Batihamah.
In a statement issued shortly after the meeting, Kasaija said; “The salary arrears arising out of non-payment of enhanced salaries in the FY 2015/16 shall be paid in a phased manner starting in FY 2016/17 and ending in FY 2017/18.”
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 leadership of the non-teaching staff of public universities has been since told to consult their membership for ratification and will report back to Government by Midday Monday 17 August, 2015.
“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, the Forum’s Secretary.
Last year, president Museveni promised a pay rise for all academic staff in public universities with a professor earning Shs15M pro-rata, a pledge that has been fulfilled with government allocating Shs50b 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.
All public universities have since extended their opening dates, pending government negotiations with the striking non-teaching staff.