Government has yielded to pressure from striking lecturers and released the new salary structure for the public universities in the country.
The proposed salary structure released by the Ministry of Public Service caters for both teaching and non-teaching staff.
In a January 17 circular, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, wrote:
“The purpose of this letter is to submit to you the revised salary structure for public universities for implementation with immediate effect. You should process the salary arrears that have accrued since 1st July 2018 following the due process.”
In the new structure, the salaries of vice chancellors of the public universities have been increased from Shs11.2m to Shs11.8m, deputy vice chancellors will earn Shs10.1m up from Shs9.6m.
Professors and associate professors for sciences will earn Shs9.6m from Shs9.1m and Shs9m from Shs8.5m, respectively.
Professors and associate professors for non-science courses will, however, earn Shs8.5m and Shs8.2m, up from Shs8.1m and Shs7.7m, respectively.
But the non-teaching staff say figures released show “serious variations” in allocating the funds to the different salary scale groups.
They say the first release had much higher figures, but the latest release has seen the increments decreasing.
The pay structure, a copy which Sunday Monitor has seen indicates that while in the first installment released at the beginning of the financial year the increments were between Shs500,000 and Shs700,000, in the latest release, the rates came down to between Shs300,000 and Shs500,000 for the non-teaching staff.
The affected employees are demanding for an explanation before calling off the strike.
Mr Jackson Betihamah, the chairperson of the public universities non-teaching staff executive forum (PUNTSEF), reacted with consternation and insisted that the government must explain the discrepancies.
“We need and explanation. Has the number of staffing gone up? We know there is a ban on recruitment in public universities so what happened?” Mr Betihamah asked.
He also said government is continuing to dilly-dally on the arrears of Shs4.3b it owes to the non-teaching staff, which he said must be paid immediately.
However, Mr Betihamah has protested this and said the issue of arrears should not be mixed with the new release.
“We want our money released separately because the Shs29.5b does not include the Shs4.3b arrears,” Mr Betihamah said.
While the teaching staff have accepted the figures and called off the strike, their non-teaching counterparts say their decision will be subjected to a general assembly.
The teaching and non-teaching staff leaders had a meeting in Kampala but failed to agree on the way forward.
Strike called off
A letter dated January 18 addressed to all the staff of public universities, signed by Dr Grace Lubaale, who heads dons in public universities says:
“Reference is made to FASPU/PUNTSEF meeting today held on January 18, 2019 at Makerere University in which we received the pay structure from the permanent secretary ministry of Public Service.
All members are thankful and appreciative to the government of Uganda for this pay and thus hereby end the strike immediately in regard to the Shs29.5b and resume work today. Therefore, you are all requested to report to work immediately.”
However, Mr Betihamah disagreed with him and demanded that the decision on whether the strike should be called off or not be subjected to the General Assembly.
“The strike is still on. We shall call a general assembly possibly next week to decide on that and if the general assembly decides that we call off the strike, then we shall do that,” Mr Betihamah said.
The PUNTSEF chairperson said it was wrong for the academic staff association chairperson to call off the strike without consulting his members.
“This was a decision taken by the General Assembly and the chairman cannot reverse that decision single handedly,” he said.
By Daily Monitor