By Mable Nakibuuka
Prof. Wasswa Balunywa, who is the Principal of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) is sweating plasma after lecturers announced a sit down strike on Sunday, demanding salary increments they were promised 10 years back.
The lecturers declared the strike at a press conference held at the MUBS campus, during which they advised students not to report to the institution, which is expected to reopen on October 15, as per the Presidential Directives on reopening educational institutions that were closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It should be noted President Yoweri Museveni a few weeks ago announced that schools, universities and tertiary institutions would reopen for leaners sitting their final year examinations.
However, the MUBS lecturers argue that unless the government and or the administration fulfil their demands which include the pending salary increments they were promised several years ago they will not return to lecture halls to teach students.
The MUBS Academic Staff Association Chairperson Brian Muyomba, who was among those that declared the strike, explained that for the last ten years, MUBS staff have been negotiating for fair pay in vain.
“We have been engaging management. They keep telling us that they are trying to lobby but for ten years there has to come a time of making hard decisions,” Muyomba said.
He noted that MUBS senior staff and management held a meeting on December 28, 2019 with President Museveni over the issue of salary harmonisation, who promised that by July 2020, the matter would be resolved. First Lady and Education Minister Janet Museveni was present at the meeting.
Thereafter the Public Service Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire directed the Finance ministry to effect payment of Uganda Shillings 59 billion in FY 2020/21, which was meant to cater for the salaries of 843 MUBS staff but to date they haven’t received it.
The disgruntled staff contend that a Vice Chancellor at the university should be entitled to a salary of Uganda Shillings 20million, a deputy vice chancellor 17.4 million, a professor 15.6 million, an associate professor 14.8 million, a senior lecturer 9million, lecturer 8.1million, assistant lecturer 6.6million, a teaching assistant 5.7million.
Muyomba argued that currently an associate professor at MUBS earns about Uganda Shillings 8 million only, which compelled the staff to unanimously agree not to resume teaching until this pay disparity with other universities is resolved.
Edwin Napakor, the MUBASA general secretary said that staff are not demanding for more money but the right salary which they deserve to earn.
However, our efforts to contact Prof. Balunywa for a comment about the matter were futile because his office telephone lines couldn’t be reached.