President Yoweri Museveni has advised staff of public universities to report back to work and allow him handle their salary enhancement demands.
While meeting leaders of public universities staff associations at State House Entebbe on Tuesday evening, Mr Museveni said that he wasn’t aware that his 2015 directive to enhance the salaries of professors to Shs15m hadn’t been fulfilled.
He had invited the staff to discuss delayed enhancement of their salaries, which prompted them to lay down their tools. Both teaching and non-teaching staffs across public universities laid down their tool early this month to compel government to fulfill the president’s directive to enhance their salaries.
The meeting which lasted about four hours, was attended by leaders of staff associations in public universities, chairpersons of university councils and vice chancellors among others.
Also in attendance were representatives of the University Professional and Academic Staff Union (UPASU), Uganda National Teachers' Union (UNATU) National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) and Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU).
"We have had a long day with His Excellency. Unfortunately we were not aware that the meeting was to thank the president for the offer of the Shs15bn. On the balance of salary enhancement the president said he was not aware that a professor had not yet achieved the Shillings 15million mark. He promised that he will handle that himself and advised that we go back to work," a source who attended the meeting disclosed immediately after the meeting.
Rev Dr Grace Lubaale, the chairperson of the Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities -FASPU urged staff to resume work following the meeting.
"We met the President at State House Entebbe regarding 15M Shillings of a Professor Pro rata. He said he wasn't aware that the matter was still pending, he then promised to handle it himself expeditiously," said Dr Lubaale.
"He advised us to report to work. With the above, please report to work with immediate effect as we wait on the President to handle the matter,” he added.
However, according to Mr Jackson Betihamah, the Chairperson of the Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum-Puntsef, their meeting with the president didn’t produce tangible results.
"I think we attended a meeting, which wasn’t ours. We had all these other staff associations for teachers and workers across. They were basically thanking the president for enhancing their salaries for this financial year," Mr Betihamah said.
"The president informed us that he wasn’t aware that a professor had not reached Shs15million as promised. It was not a good meeting generally. We came from there without any tangible promise. Not even a road map and we feel we were not given a fair hearing," he said.