Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, has appealed to the university’s staff to reconsider their planned strike, emphasizing the need to allow the government to address the issue of salary harmonization. The staff had declared their intention to go on strike starting January 15, citing the university’s failure to align their salaries with those of counterparts in other public universities.
Prof Nawangwe acknowledged that some staff at Makerere University are earning less than their counterparts at other public universities, a disparity that has been a longstanding concern for the university staff. Despite engaging with the government and parliament on the matter, the staff remains dissatisfied with the progress and resolutions.
The impending industrial action is set to commence two days into the new semester. On January 10, Prof Nawangwe sought the support of Parliament’s Committee on Education and Sports to secure urgently needed funds for salary harmonization and pro-rata salary enhancement. However, Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) Chairperson, Dr. Robert Kakuru, expressed skepticism, noting that previous attempts to secure funds did not yield positive results.
Prof Nawangwe acknowledged the staff’s grievances, revealing that the matter was brought to the attention of the President in 2017. The President directed the Ministry of Public Service to harmonize salaries, resulting in a proposed figure of Shs12 billion. The Ministry reported the completion of the harmonization exercise after the approval of the 2023/2024 budget, with allocated funds to be incorporated in the 2024/2025 financial year budget.
The Vice Chancellor urged the staff to reconsider their planned strike and allow the university management and council to continue engaging with parliament and other government agencies. He emphasized the importance of finding a lasting solution to the salary harmonization issue before the budget is read.