What you need to know:
- The lecturers have given the govt three months to enhance their salaries.
Lecturers in public universities across the country have threatened to go on a sit-down strike if the government fails to implement the presidential directive of enhancing salaries of academic staff in the institutions.
According to an April 25 letter from the University Professional and Academic Staff Union (UPASU), addressed to the Minister of Public Service, the staff have given the government three months (from May 1 to August 1) to enhance the salaries of lecturers to 100 percent.
“The academic staff have been patient since 2015 when the first presidential directive was issued and 2019 when the second presidential directive was issued. The staff have endured the negative effects of the unfair salary enhancement that neglect majority of academic staff. We are left with no option but to go on strike,” Prof Kituyi Mayoka, the union’s national chairperson, said in a letter seen by Monitor.
President Museveni in 2015 promised to increase 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 percent salary increment (Shs15m).
The increment of the salaries of lecturers is yet to be implemented.
“Whereas there have been numerous follow-ups on this matter with your office and whereas the matter was presented at the public service negotiating and consultative council meeting on February 17, an amicable solution has not been attained,” Mr Mayoka said.
“The academic staff of public universities shall withdraw their labour with effect from August 1. This is in line with schedule 4, section 2(a) of the public service negotiation, consultative and disputes settlement machinery act 2008,” he added.
Public universities tend to start their academic years in August hence should the staff go ahead with the strike, the first semester of 2023/2024 academic year will be interrupted.
According to the letter, the government is expected to release extra Shs223.2b if the salaries of the teaching staff in these public institutions is to be enhanced.
The letter has since been distributed and received by most public universities including Makerere and Kyambogo and other government bodies including the ministries of Education, Finance, and Public Service, among others.
The Minister of Public Service, Mr Mukasa Muruli, was yesterday not available to give us a comment. Similarly, officials from the ministries of Education and Finance did not answer our calls.
However, in a previous interview, Mr Muruli asked the lecturers to be patient as the government looks for the funds to enhance their salaries. He said that the government was planning to increase salaries of all public servants.
This is not the first time the lecturers are threatening to go on strike. In 2021, the teaching staff in public universities laid down their tools. They, however, called off the strike three weeks after the government promised to enhance their salaries in 2022.
The lecturers also attempted to down their tools in 2022.