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Prof Ddumba pleads with staff over looming strike

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By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE

Posted  Sunday, July 20  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

The vice chancellor’s appeal to his staff follows their threat not to report for duty in August if they are not paid their promised salary enhancement incentive.

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Kampala- Makerere University’s vice chancellor, Prof John Ssentamu-Ddumba, on Friday appealed to his staff to remain calm as management collects information from all the colleges to identify areas where money can be recovered to pay their promised salary enhancement.

By Friday, only six college principals had submitted their data out of the 10 colleges.
The university officials were, however, tightlipped on the four colleges that hadn’t handed in their reports.

According to Prof Ddumba, they had started analysing the information they got and would discuss the results in a management meeting on Tuesday.

“I appeal to all university staff to remain calm as we work jointly to overcome this challenge,” Prof Ddumba said in a statement on Friday.

Last month, Makerere University academic and support staff wrote to the University Council warning that they would not report for duty in the new academic year opening in August unless they were paid the salary enhancement incentive which was promised to them last year.

Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, the University Council chairperson, directed management to meet the staff to resolve their concerns. In the meeting, Prof Ddumba requested the staff for two weeks to investigate what had gone wrong, which was granted. The deadline elapsed on Friday.

The staff are represented by their associations; Makerere University Academic Staff Association, Makerere University Administrative Staff Association and National Union for Education Institutions in Uganda.

Earlier, Prof Ddumba explained that they had failed to pay the incentive because of a shortfall in the expected university income.

“The university did not realise its projected total revenue for the Financial Year 2013/2014 amounting to Shs122.6 billion. All efforts are being made to investigate the causes of the shortfall of Shs23.1 billion, and as such, the university management has requested for more time to enable them to address this matter,” he said.

Prof Ddumba also added that they had accumulated arrears which, although unplanned for in the 2013/14 academic year, had been cleared. This, he said, affected the university budget.

However, Dr Muhammed Kiggundu, the academic staff chairperson, told Sunday Monitor on Friday that they had received the communication but were not interested in “words but their money.”

He added that as the university management sits on Tuesday, the three staff associations will also be meeting at 10am same day and will come out with a position. The university opens on August 16

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com