Makerere University staff and government are edging cautiously toward resolving their protracted dispute over pay.
Makerere University Council, the governing body, today announced a 70 per cent allowance for all staff on top of their current salaries. The move persuaded the academic and non-academic staff to call off their three-week strike, and pave the way for the university to reopen.
In a press release today, Council Chairperson Charles Wana-Etyem, announced that the university was to open with immediate effect. However freshers will report on Saturday September 7, while continuing students are expected on September 14.
The 70 per cent income increment means that a professor will now earn Shs 5.9m per month, up from Shs 3.4m, while an associate professor will get Shs 5.7m, up from Shs 3.3m. For support staff, classified as group employees, the increment will see their pay move up from Shs 248,723 to Shs 422,829 per month.
"The salary top-up is good for a professor but not a person like me who earns very little money," said a member of the support staff at Makerere.
According to Makerere University Academic Staff Association Chairman Muhammad Kiggundu, the increment will be paid from internally generated funds. Meeting staff in a general assembly in the university's main hall today, Kiggundu insisted that despite their stand, they were not satisfied with the improved pay.
"This is just an incentive but we ask the (University) Council to continue negotiating with government so they can meet our 100 per cent pay rise that we had requested for," he said.
Dr Wana-Etyem said the money came from a re-working of the institution's expenditure. Some activities will now get less funding. Meeting allowances as well as seminar and workshop expenses will be slashed and the money re-allocated to staff as incentive allowances.
Concluding the meeting, Kiggundu asked law lecturer, Prof John Jean Barya, to write a legally binding document to compel the University Council to implement the promised pay changes.