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Non-teaching staff in public universities declare strike over salary enhancement issue

Jackson Betihamah, the PUNTSEF chairperson,

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Non-teaching staff from the nine public universities in Uganda have resolved not to return to work effective March 19, should government fail to include their salary enhancement in the 2021/2022 budget.    

The said staff under their umbrella body; Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executives’ Forum (PUNTSEF) passed the resolution during a meeting held on Thursday evening at Makerere University.  The meeting brought together leaders of different non-teaching staff associations. 

Jackson Betihamah, the PUNTSEF chairperson, notes that despite the non-teaching staff missing out on salary enhancement in the 2020/21 financial year, the government has again failed to allocate to them money in the 2021/2022 budget.   

“It seems they are taking us for granted, in the previous budget they didn’t allocate for us any single coin. The salary enhancement that was provided for only benefited teaching staff. We have always engaged government but we are yet to get any tangible results,” said Betihamah.  

According to Betihamah, the non-teaching staff at public universities are demanding that a total of 91.3 billion shillings should be provided for in the 2021/2022 financial year budget to cater for the enhancement of non-teaching staff as it was agreed upon. 

Government agreed on enhancing non-teaching staff s’ salaries in 2015 following the latter’s industrial action that paralyzed the activities in the universities as they protested the former’s decision to enhance the salaries of only teaching staff.    

However, since then government has failed to meet its promise. In the current financial government allocated 50 billion shillings to academic staff leaving the support staff in despair.    

The aggrieved group had declared a sit-down strike before government reopened education institutions for finalists. But, the education minister Janet Kataha Museveni convinced them to remain on duty and promised to meet them so that they forge a way forward. However, to their dissatisfaction, the minister failed to honor her promise.     

Meanwhile, even the academic staff who had 50 billion shillings allocated to them have shown dissatisfaction noting that the distribution plan is putting up glaring inequities, unfairness, and attempts to divide them basing on their ranks as a bigger portion of the money was allocated to Vice-Chancellors, Professors, and Associate Professors.   

As a result, the academic staff in public universities have also staged a strike demanding government to release 129.24 billion Shillings for full equal pay enhancement of their salaries in all public universities. However, after four weeks of the strike government has remained silent on the matter.     .



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