In a renewed wave of frustration, staff members at Makerere University have issued a strong ultimatum, threatening to strike if their long-pending demands concerning promotions and salary increments are not met. The dispute, marked by a letter from the Joint Staff Association – an amalgamation of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA), and the National Union of Education Institutions (NUEI) – Makerere University Branch, underscores a widening rift between the university and its employees.
The ultimatum, detailed in a letter addressed to the Vice Chancellor and received on October 24, 2023, is a stark reminder of the unresolved issues that have plagued the institution for some time. It’s apparent that the numerous meetings and assurances given have not appeased the staff members’ growing concerns.
|Harmonization of salary structure (approx. UGX 12 billion)
|Prompt staff promotions across all categories
|Filling vacant positions substantively
|Staff Tribunal Members inauguration
Notably, the staff members are calling for the implementation of a harmonized salary structure amounting to over Shs12 billion. They emphasize the importance of adjusting salaries to ensure equitable compensation among the workforce. Furthermore, they demand the immediate processing of pending staff promotions, both for academic and administrative staff, along with the filling of vacant positions, which have been temporarily occupied by staff in acting roles.
The letter also highlights the need for expediting the process of inaugurating the Staff Tribunal Members – a vital component in addressing labor-related issues.
A stringent deadline looms over the university administration. If the demands of the staff members, which encompass both academic and support staff, are not met, the ultimatum mandates them to withdraw their labor starting November 27, 2023.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Professor Umar Kakumba, responded to the staff’s concerns, asserting that the university’s capacity to address salary enhancements is limited. He clarified that the issues concerning salary harmonization fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Service, emphasizing that the Ministry and Finance will be the key players in resolving these matters.
Furthermore, Professor Kakumba assured the staff that the inauguration of the Staff Tribunal Members is in the pipeline and should be organized shortly. He expressed optimism that the government will continue to support the university in its journey towards resolving the salary and promotion-related issues.
The specter of industrial action looms over Makerere University, with salary-related concerns at its core. In recent years, the university has grappled with various strike actions initiated by its teaching staff, often centered around salary disparities and promotion-related grievances.