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Public Universities Staff Reaffirm Industrial Action

They are protesting the failure to enhance their pay saying it is unfair to cater for academic staff in universities and ignore the administrative staff with whom they share challenges. The salaries of academic staff in Public Universities were increased after a series of strikes last year.
31 Jul 2015 18:57

Audio 5

Non-Teaching Staff from all Public Universities across the country have affirmed plans for an indefinite strike in protest of government failure to enhance their salaries.

The resolution follows meetings held at the different Public Universities today. These Include Kyambogo, Makerere, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Gulu, Muni and Busitema University.

Members from the universities unanimously agreed to close offices effective this evening and handover keys to the management in preparation for industrial action starting Monday August 3rd. They are protesting the failure to enhance their pay saying it is unfair to cater for academic staff in universities and ignore the administrative staff with whom they share challenges.

The salaries of academic staff in Public Universities were increased after a series of strikes last year. However, Education Minister Jessica Alupo says government does not have enough resources to increase the salaries of non-teaching staff this financial year.

The mood at Kyambogo University was tense and emotional as staff convened in a meeting to forge a way forward.  Michael Eladu, the chairperson of Kyambogo University Branch of National Union of Educational Institutions says the decision is final.

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Joseph Kasa Donald, a member of the monitoring committee says they have always given more to ensure that universities excel, but their effort has not been appreciated. He says the monitoring team will deal with anyone who may not honor the resolution.

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Makerere University non-teaching staffs have also joined the cause. However, while all the facilities will be closed in the other universities, the staffs in Makerere have agreed to leave the University Hospital operational.

Bruce Twesigye, the Secretary of the Non-teaching Staff Forum says they took the decision after wider consultations. He says they cannot be bullied into submission because they have been involved in many strikes and know how to contain the intimidating team.

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In Mbarara University of Science and Technology, the staff unanimously voted to go on strike. Mariam Kabasongora reports that the resolution was made during a meeting between non-teaching staff and MUST Vice Chancellor prof Selestine Obua. 

Charles Kakuru the chairperson of the workers union at MUST told journalists that they have made all the necessary arrangements to ensure that all non-teaching staff do not appear for work next week.

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In Gulu, Alex Otto reports that the non-teaching staffs have already closed their office in preparation for Monday\'s industrial action. They said they are not willing to return to work until their pay is enhanced.

Jackson Betihamah, the chairperson of the Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Consultative Forum says he has got a complete report from all the universities. He says all facilities are being closed this evening and keys handed over to either police, or the university management teams. He says they will remain closed until their demands are met.

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He says doors are still open for dialogue, but they will not change their position on pay-rise.

It\'s also emerging that primary and secondary school teachers have pledged to join the action by the non-teaching staff. National Organization of Trade Union-NOTU also announced their backing to the non-teaching staff.

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