Special Reports

Varsity staff reject gov’t salary rise offer  


Makerere University non-teaching staff voting to support a strike

The Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum (PUNTSEF) has rejected a proposal by the government to postpone the increment of their salaries to the next financial year.

The PUNTSEF executive met the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda Wednesday where the government officials told them that their salaries will be increased in the next financial year.

Matia Kasaija, the Finance Minister on Thursday said that the PUNTSEF executive appreciated the proposal but would first call a general assembly of their members before announcing their stand.

The government also acknowledged that they made a mistake in only enhancing the salaries of the teaching staff and promised to pay the arrears in two equal instalments.

Contrary to Kasaija’s remarks, it has now emerged that the officials have rejected the proposal to settle their arrears and salary increment in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 fiscal years.

They want salaries increased immediately.

Jackson Betihamah, the chairperson of PUNTSEF says they will consult with their constituencies before making a final resolution on Monday.

“We are still on strike and we are still negotiating. We are not happy. How can we wait up to the next financial year when our colleagues are receiving their money,” said Batihamah.

Bruce Twesigye, the secretary of the Forum which encompasses; Busitema University, Gulu, Kyambogo, Makerere, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Muni Universities, says they don’t like strikes but have to be treated fairly.

“There are supplementary budgets and budgetary omissions where they can get this money from. We need only Shs32bn, for this financial year,” he is quoted by Red Pepper as saying.

Last year, president Museveni promised a pay rise for all academic staff in public universities with a professor earning Shs 15m pro-rata, a pledge that has been fulfilled with government allocating Shs 50bn in the 2015/2016 national budget.

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