Uganda:Makerere University closure looms as students join lecturers’ strike

Published by Daily Monitor
On 1 November 2016 saa 04:48
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The academic staff members voted to maintain resolutions of the Monday general assembly to maintain their strike until they are paid.

Makerere University students are striking following Monday’s general assembly of teaching staff which voted to continue with their sit-down strike until they are paid all the incentive arrears.

The students’ strike started at Lumumba Hall on Tuesday amid heavy police and military deployment inside the university.

The students want lecturers to resume teaching as they demand their incentive payments. The University Council, the highest decision making body at the institution is meeting to decide the next move.

The Monday general assembly which voted to continue with the strike was attended by the Council Chairperson Dr Charles Wana Etyem, the Vice Chancellor Prof Ddumba Ssentamu and Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, Prof Bernabas Nawangwe.

“I want to appeal to you directly that in the interest of Makerere University…, unless the university is running, we are not going to solve these problems,” Dr Etyem said.

He had promised the lecturers that the university would pay their incentives for one month by end of November. However, the promise was dismissed by the academic staff.

The lecturers are demanding payment of incentives for the last 8 months excluding the month of October.

At the end of June, the arrears had accumulated arrears to Shs27 billion.

What are the incentives

The incentives were introduced during the 2013/2014 academic year after teaching staff went on strike demanding 100 per cent salary increment. They were meant to consolidate allowances that lecturers were earning from teaching evening programme students and eradicate indiscriminate distribution of the allowances among lecturers.

In September, the lecturers stopped teaching evening programme classes after management’s decision to cut their incentives by 75 per cent. The University Council bowed to lecturers’ pressure and rescinded the decision to reduce the incentives on September 14.

According to a statement presented to the lecturers by management, the cumulative budget versus the actual revenue deficit for the past three financial years stands at Sh72 billion.

This, according to management has resulted into inability to meet financial obligations, service and operation interruption, poor service delivery and inability to pay June salaries at the end of 2015-2016 financial year.

All lecturers who reacted to submissions from management said they are frustrated by endless failure by their bosses to honour their promises.

The academic staff members voted to maintain resolutions of the Monday general assembly to maintain their strike until they are paid.