A strike by the support staff in some public universities is still on.
The support staff members from Makerere and Kyambogo Universities on Tuesday announced a strike citing their dissatisfaction after the government enhanced the salaries of teaching staff and non-teaching staff members in the 2017/2019 budget by Shs19bn but left them out.
They say they want the issue of their salary enhancement handled equitably.
For instance M15 at Kyambogo University is a level of a cleaner and office messenger earning 883,236 Shillings. In the proposed structure a staff at M15 will be earning 947,274 Shillings which is contested as staff want an equitable enhanced position of 1,474,733 Shillings. This is compounded by the realisation that a staff with similar responsibilities at Makerere and Mbarara universities was earning 649,857 Shillings last year and will earn 685,691 Shillings this financial year.
Speaking to reporters the General Secretary of the support team, Bruce Twesigye, says that they have consulted a number of officials at the university but their efforts have been futile.
He notes that they have received information that the money should be re-calculated among all the staff members adding that they will only call off the strike when this is implemented.
Support staff include cleaners, assistant accountants, technicians and secretaries among others.
Services at Universities have been paralysed as a strike by non-teaching support staff continue.
Workers kept off their stations to push Public Service ministry to streamline the new salary structure.
For instance, over 600 Kyambogo University workers downed their tools on Tuesday to push for equitable distribution of salary enhancement.
According to Prof. Eli Rwakishaya Katunguka, the Kyambogo University Vice Chancellor, offices have not been cleaned since the staff went on strike. Toilets and other places visited by a URN reporter were appalling since they were not cleaned.
He further notes that support staff in admissions office have also not turned up for work which might grossly affect the admission process.
Prof. Katunguka appealed to staff to come back to work to allow room for negotiations. He notes that the university is processing students’ admissions but they cannot do it when the staff are on strike.
Pastor Michael Eladu, the National Union of Educational Institutions – NUEI Kyambogo University chairperson, in an interview insisted that will continue until their issues are resolved.
Eladu said that he had briefed the vice chancellor and was not expecting any threat from him. He argues that their NUEI strike is not outside the law since it is a continuation of their struggle for salary enhancement started in 2015.
A week ago, support staff from Makerere and Kyambogo universities stormed the Ministry of Public Service to table their grievances. The staff members accuse their colleagues in the senior administrative category of using the money meant for salary enhancement for all staff to benefit them by equating themselves to academic staff.
Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, the Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary had instructed her technical team to harmonise the differences in the salary enhancement structure but this never came to fruition.
This would later lead to several general assemblies of support staff at the two public universities and the subsequent declaration of strike.