Special Reports

Universities threaten strikes over salaries


Kyambogo university


Non-teaching staff in all the public universities across the country have given the government until the end of this financial year to increase their salaries, or they lay down their tools.

Their demands follow the government’s decision to increase pay for only teaching staff in all the public universities.

The non-teaching staff claim that in the recent planning indicative figures to all the universities, the finance ministry only made salary increment for the teaching staff, leaving the administrative and support staff out of the proposed increment.

They claim the increments are discriminatory in nature.

During an emergency executive meeting of Public Universities’ Non Teaching Staff Executive Forum, held at Kyambogo University Saturday afternoon, the staff resolved to lay down their tools until they that they will not sit down until they are put at the same level with the teaching staff.

Shortly after the meeting, the members drafted a letter addressed the Prime Minister stating that they need urgent response from the government.

The letter in part reads; whereas the universities and other tertiaries institutions act 2001 as amended, recognizes the three categories of university staff, namely, the academic staff, administrative and support staff, only academic staff salaries are to be enhanced.

This segregation of enhancing salary for one category of staff and leaving out other is discriminatory, unfair, demotivating, destroys team work and will negatively affect the achievements of the institution’s goals and objectives.

In a university setting, activities of the three categories of staff are complimentary. No category of staff can succeed without the other.

The letter concludes that, “In light of the above, we are writing to you as the leader of the government business to ensure that all the categories of staff in public universities are treated equally. The proposed salary enhancement should cover all the categories of the workers in all public universities on pro-rata basis. We hope and believe that you will accord this matter the seriousness and urgency it deserves to prevent possible future industrial and or court action.”

Eriya Ntaga, the chairperson of Non Academic Staff Union of Busitema says it’s unfortunate that the government has started creating divisions among staff that have had very good working relations.

Ntaga says the government must reverse the discriminatory nature of increment so that staff in the same salary scale are treated equally across all the three categories.

He says the non-teaching staff of Busitema University will continue to oppose the discriminatory increment until it is reversed.

Patrick Twesigye, the representative of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, says the non teaching staff will be forced to resort to industrial and court action if their request is ignored.

Jackson Betihamah, the Chairperson of Public Universities’ Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum, says the group has proposed that the current scale must be maintained until all staff get uniform increments.

Betihamah says they have given the government up to 15th July this year before resorting to both industrial and court actions.

Betihamah says they are determined to resist until the government responds.

Government is yet to respond to the demands of the group.

Their decision to write to the government comes just a day before the expiry of 90 days the teachers in primary and secondary schools issued to the government over alleged exclusion of their 10 percent salary enhancement for the forthcoming financial year.

The deadline expires on 13th April 2015.


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