MUASA Issues Fresh Threats Over Incentive, Salary Harmonization

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In short
Dr. Deus Muhwezi Kamunyu, the MUASA Publicist, told URN shortly after the Emergence General Assembly that their patience has run out.

Makerere University lecturers have given the university council up to Tuesday November 7, to declare its position on staff incentives and salary harmonization.  
 

The lecturers issued the ultimatum during an Emergency General Assembly convened by Makerere University Academic Staff Association - MUASA on Tuesday.

 
Dr. Deus Muhwezi Kamunyu, the MUASA Publicist, told URN shortly after the Emergence General Assembly that their patience has run out.

  
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It is the same demands that led to the lecturer's strike at about the same time last year leading to the closure of the university by president, Yoweri Museveni. Following the strike, Eng. Dr. Wana Etyem, the Makerere University Council Chairman promised to pay lecturers their incentives for the months of February, March, April, May and June by June 2017. 
 

He requested staff to resume work while the Special Audit and Visitation Committee execute their duties, which will inform the future of the incentives. "Aware that a Special Audit is underway, the University Council shall review the decision on incentive after a Special Audit Report has been received and the decision taken shall be effective 1st July 2016," Dr. Etyem said in his letter.
 
 
The university council previously discussed the incentive and reiterated its position during its 140th meeting held on August 24th, 2017.  The University Council Secretary, Charles Barugahare wrote to staff on September 4th affirming the commitment of council to the staff welfare. 
 
He however, noted that the council was still waiting for the results and recommendations of the special Audit and the Visitation Committee Report to be able to make a decision on the staff incentives. Staffs now say that since the university council has not officially communicated its position on whether or not the incentive was abolished, the university pays this in arrears effective from July 2016 to date. 
 


Staffs argue that they have been receiving rumors from a section of university managers, saying the incentive is 'dead' and yet no official communication has been made to the effect. Makerere University Council has been referring the staff agitating for salary harmonization to the National Council for Higher Education - NCHE and the Public Service Ministry. 
 

However, during the MUASA Emergency Assembly, Louis Kakinda, the MUASA Secretary General, who is also the association's representative to the university Salary harmonization committee told staff that both NCHE and Public Service ministry were waiting for the university council to guide them on the salary scale discrepancies. 

 

The discrepancy affects assistant lecturers and lecturers in the salary scale M6 that arose from the creation of new salary structure for 2017/2018. The creation of M6.1 for lecturers (PhD holders) and assistant lecturers M6.2 (Masters Holders) affects assistant lecturers who are paid less compared to other public universities.

 
Under the new salary structure, a lecturer at Makerere under M6.1 earns Shillings 5.7million while an assistant lecture at M6.2 is at Shillings 4.4million. A lecturer at master's level in other public universities is at M6 and earns Shillings 5.7. The assistant lecturers want Makerere University to pay them like their counter parts in other public universities. 

 
In its October 12 letter to the harmonization committee, the National Council for Higher Education-NCHE noted that although it sets minimum standards for qualifications for one to become a lecturer, universities were free to raise standards depending on their needs to employ the best qualified staff. 

 
URN has obtained information that Catherine Bitarakwate, the country's head of civil service communicated on July 20th, saying the ministry couldn't do anything about the staff salaries without communication from the university council.

 
"Public service has noted the issues raised by the assistant lecturers at Makerere University. The ministry has put these issues in view. We are waiting for the university council to communicate to us in order to act," Bitarakwate's letter read in part.

 

About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba