Friday, 17 October 2014

Makerere staff, students threaten to strike.Drive Hot News

Makerere University staff and students have threatened to strike again protesting what they call the top management’s reluctance to address their concerns.
The students are opposing the university council’s decision to increase graduation fees from Shs90,000 to 220,000 ,poor quality of food and insecurity on the campus while lecturers want their salary incentives arrears paid .
Mr Louis Kakinda , the spokesperson Makerere University Academic Staff Association (Muasa) said on Thursday they have called a general assembly today (Friday) to discuss the matter .
“ The only language our leaders understand is that of strike and if it is the wish of all members, we shall stage it until we get our two- month salary incentives which have not been remitted ,” he said by telephone on Thursday.
The students strike, according to the guild president, Mr Ivan Bwowe starts next Monday.
In August last year, lecturers went on strike protesting the government’s failure to honor its promise to increase lecturers’ salaries by 100 percent, as had earlier been agreed. The University was consequently closed by the University Council, pending negotiations with the staff. This delayed opening of the first semester by three weeks. In October the same year, a section of staff attached to the school of Law again laid down their tools demanding that their salary incentives be reviewed and evening allowances reinstated. Students have also staged numerous strikes this year, the most recent one being in July where they opposed management’s decision to scrap meals in the halls of residence and the 10 percent tuition increment policy for the new students, which management has since reversed.
Recently, university staff challenged the top management to give actual number of students currently at the institution as a benchmark for proper accountability. The staff accuses the institution of not giving them incentives under the pretext that the university is financially crippled yet the actual number of students who pay tuition fees is unknown.
All this comes barely two months after President Yoweri Museveni directed the university to suspend the 10 percent tuition fee increment for new students which was expected to generate Shs2.4 billion, this academic year. President Museveni promised that government will increase the budgetary allocation for salaries of teaching staff in all public universities from the previous Shs180 billion to Shs300 billion with effect from next financial year and students will only be meeting utilities like water and electricity not contributing to their lecturers' pay.
Early this year, the university management reported a Shs23.1billion shortfall in its budget for the 2013/14 academic year, hence being unable to meet lecturers’ demands. Makerere had projected to raise Shs122.6 billion but fell short of Shs23.1 billion.