Lecturers defy Nawangwe on strike 

Thursday March 04 2021
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Prof Barnabas Nawangwe. FILE PHOTO

By Damali Mukhaye

Makerere University dons have shrugged off Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe’s directive as empty threat and vowed not to return to lecture rooms without salary enhancement.

Last month, Prof Nawangwe threatened to deal with any member of Makerere University academic staff who would not turn up on March 1 to teach learners.

Prof Nawangwe said he was not aware about the on-going lecturers’ strike and vowed to discipline striking lecturers.  
Most of the aggrieved staff have openly resisted Prof Nawangwe’s threats and asked him to go slow. 

The lecturers have refused to teach students who returned on March 1 for the 2021/2022 academic year
On February 2, Prof Nawangwe called for a headcount of all staff by the directorate of internal audit to establish which staff are teaching and those who are not on ground that they are striking.

Prof Nawangwe in his latest letter addressed the director of internal audit, notes that in order to ensure effectiveness execution of the university timetables, management resolved to undertake a daily audit of teaching and learning activities at the university.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request you to undertake the said audit with the objective of establishing the execution of teaching and learning activities by academic staff in accordance with the university timetable of physical learning activities at campus,” Prof Nawangwe’s letter reads.

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Dons hit back
The striking lecturers under the umbrella association, the Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities (FASPU) took to their official twitter handle; rebuked their boss and rejected the proposed audit. 
The staff have made it clear that they are not going to bow to Prof Nawangwe’s pressures and threats.

“Members have laughed off the desperate bid by Prof Nawangwe to scare academic staff to teach under pressure and yet he received 64 per cent pay rise amid Covid-19 on money that we negotiated. Forcing 2,700 academic staff to teach when Vice Chancellors and their deputies got 64 per cent increment is incentive and dubious,” the staff twitted yesterday. 

The chairperson of FASPU, Mr Deus Kamunyu, told this newspaper last evening that the university managers are panicking, but as staff, they consulted their lawyers and their strike is legal.

He explained that the staff in all public universities who agreed to lay down their tool will call off the strike when their money is released. 
He asked Prof Nawangwe to desist from threatening staff and reiterated that their strike is legal.

All teaching staff in public universities across the country declared a nationwide strike under FASPU on February 6 and vowed that the strike would continue  until government releases Shs129.24b for full enhancement of salaries of staff from senior lecturer and below in all public universities.

Most students in public universities reported back on March 1, after spending one year at home since March 20 when all institutions of learning were closed by due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Background
President Museveni in 2015 promised increased salaries of teaching staff in public universities that would see a professor earn Shs15m and a senior lecturer earn Shs12.2m.

Government decided to implement this directive in a phased manner for five years. However, in the 2020/2021 financial year, the government released Shs50b which benefitted only professors and associate professors who got their 100 per cent salary increment (Shs15m). 

However, the lecturer’s increment was not realised. The government has on several occasions begged striking lecturers to return to lecture rooms but they have refused to budge.

dmukhaye@ug.nationmedia.com

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