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Makerere University staff calls off strike

Staff Assocition leaders during a press conference last week. PHOTO URN

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University staff have agreed to temporarily called of their strike.

Last week, staff through their Associations; Makerere University Academic Staff Association- MUASA, Makerere Academic Staff Association-MASA and the National Union of Education Institutions- NUEI declared their intention for new industrial action commencing on January 15, 2024, citing the University’s failure to align their salaries with those of staff in other public universities.

The staff claimed that the government had failed to address their long-standing issues.

As a result, they decided to start the industrial action, two days after the start of the new semester.

Although Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor had earlier on Wednesday asked Parliament’s Committee on Education and Sports to support the University in obtaining urgently needed funds for salary harmonization and pro-rata salary enhancement, Makerere University Academic Staff Association- Muasa Chairman- Dr. Robert Kakuru said they were not convinced.

Kakuru contended that, while MASA had taken the matter to parliament, they could not obtain any assurance because the same issue was brought before parliament last year but no funds were allocated.

However, while the strike was scheduled to begin this week, it was not observed on campus. When our reporter visited the university, it was business as usual.

In an earlier interview with URN, Nawangwe explained that he is aware that some of the staff at Makerere University are earning less than their counterparts in other public Universities, and added that harmonization exercise was completed last year, resulting in a proposed figure of 12 billion shillings but only came after the approval of the 2023/2024 budget.

He said that the Public Service Ministry assured that the allocated funds would be incorporated in the 2024/2025 financial year budget.

Nawangwe appealed to the staff to call off their planned strike and give a chance to the University management and the university Council to continue engaging Parliament and other government agencies.

In a letter signed by the chairpersons of three associations; they resolved to call off their strike and give chance to the government to resolve the matter.

However, the Association leaders made it clear that if the money is not included in the 2024/2025 financial year budget, they will withdraw their labor effective April 8th 2024.

“The University Council should include UGX 12,636,589,200 in the budget for 2024/2025 for harmonization of salaries to stop the cheating, and underpaying of some staff members that have suffered for very many years,” Reads part of the letter

“If the above resolution is not fully implemented, all staff (Academic, Administrative, and support) shall withdraw their labor effective Monday, April 8th 2024. Therefore, this is to give the University a third extension of notice of industrial Action- effective January 15th 2024 to 7th 2024.”

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URN

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