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100% pay rise for Makerere not possible - Govt

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th May 2013 01:58 PM

Government will not implement a 100% pay rise for Makerere staff across the board in the next financial year.

100% pay rise for Makerere not possible - Govt

Government will not implement a 100% pay rise for Makerere staff across the board in the next financial year.

By Vision Reporter

Government will not implement a 100% pay rise for Makerere staff across the board in the next financial year.

“I don’t think it’s attainable,” Education and Sport minister, Jessica Alupo told Vision Online Monday morning.

 Makerere University Council over the weekend approved a request by staff to double their salaries across the board, bringing an end to a sit-down strike that started on Friday.

 Asked whether the Government cannot re-allocate money from other sectors to meet the Makerere staff demand, Alupo said, “It’s not possible given the remaining period to the presentation of the national budget. I would not want to speculate but what I know is that it’s late if their demand is to be implemented in the next financial year.”

The minister said that the Government for the last one and half years has been discussing the welfare of Makerere University staff.

She explained that a committee instituted by the Prime Minister chaired by Prof. Francis Omaswa came up with a report which will guide the Government’s to comprehensively deal with lectures’ grievances. 
Makerere university management on Saturday held a crisis meeting where 100% pay rise decision was passed unanimously.

"I share the concerns of staff to increase the salaries by 100%. Their demand is justifiable; we need a better remuneration for all Makerere University staff," the vice-chancellor Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu was quoted as saying in the meeting.

The university spokesperson Ritah Namisango said in a statement that a fresh budget for financial year 2013/2014 with the 100% salary increment would be forwarded to the ministry of education today (Monday).

The budget, if approved by the ministry and Parliament, will push the university's wage bill to sh130b, up from the current sh65b. It means that a professor, the highest paid academic, who earns a gross monthly salary of sh2.9m, will earn close to sh6m. The salary for a teaching assistant, the lowest paid academic, will rise from sh1.4m to sh2.8m.

Consequently, the academic, administrative and support staff associations yesterday (Sunday) convened a general meeting where they called off the strike and set up a three-man committee to monitor salary negotiations with the Government.

The committee comprises of MUASA chairman Dr. Mohammed Kiggundu, their representative to council Prof. Baker Nyakaana and general secretary Dr. Frank Mwine.

They trio were asked to cooperate with the university management to ensure that Government incorporates their proposal in the forthcoming budget for 2013/2014.

"We have suspended the strike to enable students do their exams. We are not giving up the battle. We shall reconvene after the national budget is read to devise the way forward depending on the decision the Government will have taken," MUASA spokesperson Louis Kakinda explained.

During the meeting, the lecturers and support staff were charged over what they called "pea nut salaries."

"Whenever the university increases tuition fees, our salaries don't increase yet we also pay tuition fees for some of our children at the university!" remarked Dr. Julius Onen of the college of health sciences.

Considering that Makerere is ranked the best university in Africa outside South Africa, Dr. Kiggundu said it was disappointing for its staff to get paltry salaries compared to those in private universities.

Citing the university deputy vice-chancellor Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa who has been appointed judge of the court of appeal, Kiggundu blamed low salaries for the high attrition rates at the university.

The level of brain-drain in Public universities is alarming as dons keep quitting for jobs in well-paying private and foreign universities and non-academic jobs. Uganda is ranked number one in east Africa in terms of low pay for university academic staff.

Makerere lost 25 high-profile lecturers in 2011 alone, forcing management to suspend the Master of Journalism and Communication programme for a year, among other courses.

Mbarara University also lost 20 lecturers while Gulu Univeristy reportedly loses about 10 senior lecturers every academic year.

A 2012 Auditor General's report shows that there is need for close to 3,000 lecturers and others in more senior positions in the four of the five public universities.

At Makerere, it was noted that 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.

Particularly, the report indicated that all the departments in the schools of economics and business were less than 50% staffed.

Yet, this is just the latest of a series of lecturers' strikes related to low pay. Efforts by the respective public universities to raise salaries have often been frozen by the education ministry.

Minister Maj. Jessica Alupo in June, 2011 blocked a proposal by Kyambogo University to give its lecturers 150% pay raise.

The same year in September Makerere University was closed for over a month after lecturers laid down their tools demanding for a more than 300% pay raise.


100% pay rise for Makerere not possible - Govt

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