Makerere staff plot to strike over lack of tribunal

Makerere University VC Prof Barnabas Nawangwe. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The staff say failure to reinstate the staff tribunal has led to violations of their rights.

Makerere University staff, both teaching and non-teaching, have resolved to lay down their tools next month if the university does not reinstate the staff tribunal. The body was suspended three months ago.

They are also calling for the harmonisation of the salary structure for all university staff and the immediate execution of all pending promotions.

The staff’s demands come three weeks before the institution’s new academic year.

“If the above resolutions are not fully implemented, all staff, including academic, administrative, and support staff, shall withdraw their labour at the beginning of the Academic Year 2023/2024. For the avoidance of doubt, this withholding of labour shall begin on August 18,’’ a July 17 circular signed by all staff association leaders stated.

According to the academic registrar, the new academic year 2023/2024 starts on August 19 with the freshers orientation, while continuing students are slated to report one week later.

The chairperson of the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Dr Robert Kakuru, said the staff won’t attend to students next month if the university council and management fail to address their concerns.

In the circular addressed to the university council, the staff indicate that failure by the university to reinstate the staff tribunal has led to violations of staff rights.

“Since April 6, the university staff associations have held multiple meetings and engagements regarding the staff tribunal issue, but the tribunal is yet to be restored.   This delay seriously affects staff as justice delayed is justice denied. 

“We demand the immediate restoration of the university staff tribunal as our fellow staff members with pending cases before the tribunal face a lot of agony and uncertainty,’’ the circular further stated. 

The university secretary, Mr Yusuf Kiranda, halted activities of the staff tribunal headed by Justice Patrick Tabaaro following a directive from the council, based on the guidance of the Attorney General. 

The suspension of the tribunal was justified on the grounds that it was not fully-constituted.

VC directive
The university chancellor, Prof Ezra Suruma,  in his May 22 letter ordered the university council to reinstate the staff tribunal stating that he was not consulted.

Prof Suruma emphasised that the chancellor is the sole appointing authority of the chairperson of the tribunal, and only this authority can lawfully remove the chairperson as mentioned. 

However, despite the chancellor’s directive to have the tribunal complete its tenure, the matter has not been resolved.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, yesterday warned staff against laying down their tools, stating that the strike is illegal.