As the strike by Makerere University staff enters day two, the University Council is sitting tomorrow to discuss the matter.
By Innocent Anguyo & Franko Olong
KAMPALA - As the strike by Makerere University staff enters day two, the University Council is sitting tomorrow (Friday) to discuss the matter.
The meeting had earlier been set for Thursday but then re-scheduled to Friday.
Both teaching and non-teaching staff of Makerere Tuesday resolved to lay down their tools over failure by government to double their pay in the 2013/2014 financial year.
However, the academic registrars at colleges will continue working since they have to issue provisional and permanent admission letters to first year students expected to report on August 17.
The university council, the supreme decision making body of the institution earlier this year endorsed a doubled pay for dons but whether it will do the same for all university staff remains a mystery.
Appearing before the parliamentary committee on education recently, Makerere Vice Chancellor Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu revealed that the university is indebted to a hefty tune of sh50b.
That day, Ddumba told the committee that the university management cannot meet the 100% salary hike demanded by dons adding that if the dons insist on the increment, Makerere may as well as fail to open for the forthcoming semester.
A 2012 Auditor General's report shows that, at Makerere, there were only 1,403 academic positions filled against the establishment of 2,654 positions. This left a total of 1,251 positions (about 47%) vacant. The university attributes the labour shortfall to lack of funds to recruit.
Ssentamu said the Ministry of education is trying to negotiate with the Government to take over the entire university’s wage bill. A total of sh43b has been allocated to wages this financial year. However, efforts of New Vision to reach education minister Jessica Alupo over the matter proved futile as she could not pick her calls.
Recently the University also declined to renew contracts of non-academic support staff, a move believed to be in a bid to salvage some money to recruit more academic staff.
Therefore, as council sits today, chances of the staff’s wages being doubled is unlikely.
The academic staff spokesman Louis Kakinda however insists that despite the failure of government to double wages for Makerere staff, they expected the University Council, as their immediate employer to find the money to undertake the wage increment.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that the university continues operating normally and the Council’s is to ensure that we are deservingly paid. We have done or role but Council has failed,” said Kakinda.
“However, in case Idd el-fitr falls today, then the Special Council meeting will take place on tomorrow,” said Makerere senior publicist Ritah Namisango.
100% staff payrise: Makerere decides today