By Our Reporter
Teaching and non-teaching staff in public universities across the country have announced a strike starting next semester in January, citing failure by government to pay their Shs29.5 billion for their salary enhancement.
At a meeting attended by representatives from Makerere, Muni, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Muni, Mubs, Soroti, Busitema, Kyambogo, Lira and Kabale universities at Makerere University on Monday, the staff said they were tired of government’s empty promises.
The money in question was part of President Museveni’s pledge in 2015 to increase the lecturers’ salary in a five-year period. It was supposed to be remitted in the 2017/2018 financial year.
The chairperson of the Forum for Academic Staff for Public Universities (FASPU), Mr. Grace Lubaale, whereas they had agreed with government to remit the money, this has also not been honoured.
“We are referring to the various letters, we have received from various officers, including one from the minister of state for Finance and Economic Planning, Ministry of Public Service and Secretary to the Treasury, reaffirming government’s position and commitment to clear the outstanding salary balance of Shs29 billion but to date, the money has not yet been cleared,” Dr Lubaale told journalists at Makerere University on Monday.
“The minister of Education also assured us that this money was going to be cleared in 2017/2018 financial year but we are shocked that despite all these assurances, we have not seen any tangible progress of receiving the money and an enhanced salary structure in the financial year 2018/2019,” he added.
“The members have unanimously resolved to withdraw their labour in all public universities effective semester two for the academic year 2018/2019 in case we do not receive the money in January 2019 payroll,” he continued.
The non- teaching staff are demanding a separate Shs4.3 billion for their enhancement.
The chairperson of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Dr Deus Kamunyu, said government should deliver its pledge.
In 2016, President Museveni closed Makerere University after the staff laid down their tools over the same issue of salary enhancement.