The academic staff of public universities in Uganda have picked a leaf from the arts teachers and resolved to resume their industrial action over salary enhancement.
In a June 17 letter, which was copied to the ministries of Education, Public Service, Finance, Gender and the Parliament, among others, the academic staff through their umbrella, Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities in Uganda (FASPU), said they would lay down their tools unless their salary is enhanced.
“The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the joint meeting between FASPU executive and chairpersons of the Council that was held on March 29, 2021 only suspended our industrial action. We notify you that all academic staff in public universities will resume their industrial strike if salary enhancement to the agreed targets is not addressed in the Financial Year 2022/2023,” the statement read.
“Our members have been patient as the salary enhancement injustice continues to negatively affect them in many ways. Staff promotions have been undermined because of the huge salary differences, affecting our career growth,” the statement, signed by the acting chairperson of FASPU, Mr Tom Omute, and chairpersons of academic staff associations of various public universities, said.
The leadership of FASPU said the matter of unfair salary enhancement can be solved once and for all.
Some of the public universities include Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School, Mbarara University, Gulu University, Lira University, Muni University, Kabale University, Soroti University, and Busitema University
Although staff had declared industrial action on June 4, 2020, on October 8, 2020 the executive committee of FASPU sitting at Kyambogo University requested all academic staff in all public universities to receive and teach students in final year “as our request to address the unfair salary enhancement is being handled” .
On March 1, 2021, the Minister for Education and Sports, who also doubles as the first lady of the country, Ms Janet Museveni, wrote to the vice chancellors of public universities to engage FASPU to call off the industrial action as government looks into their demands.
On May 3, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ms Ketty Lamaro, wrote to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to provide additional Shs223.2 billion for purposes of meeting 100 percent agreed pay target to academic staff in public universities.
In the Financial Year 2020/2021, only Shs129.24 billion was yet to be paid. Over time, this figure has increased because the government created two more universities.
“Therefore, the government cannot claim that there is no money to complete our salary enhancement. Though the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, wrote on May 3, 2022 requesting for provision of additional Shs223.2 billion, we do not see this figure in the budget of 2022/2023,” the statement says.