Public Service Blamed for Varsity Staff Strikes

Ministry of Public Service has been accused of causing staff discomfort and strikes in public universities.

Mbarara University of Science and Technology Vice Chancellor Prof. Celestine Obua, who by Thursday had all his non-teaching staff on a sit-down strike, said mistakes at the ministry in Kampala have been the root cause of the various strikes.

The MUST staff members went on strike demanding to be given their promised salary increment.

While addressing the staffers who have been striking for three days, Obua blamed Ministry of Public service for causing disparities in university staff salaries.

He noted that for no clear reason, the ministry declined to equally spread the recent salary increment across all staffs; benefiting only the senior staff.

Apparently senior staff got a 110% salary increase while for junior and support staff only 23%.

On top of this, he added, that public universities continue to suffer staff remuneration challenges due to wage bill cuts.

Public Service accountants, he says, keep giving unexplained orders to Ministry of Finance to make cuts on university wage bills.

“We had a Shs 1.8billion wage bill cut; you recall our colleagues at Busitema had a Shs. 1.5 billion cut and at Kyambogo about 900million. Those institutions found it difficult to pay the salaries for the month of June,” he said.

Obua says they have made numerous trips to the ministry in Wandegeya, and the Ministry of Finance to resolve this matter but with no success.

“First they accused us of creating ghosts which turned out to be false,” he said.

The support staffs in these universities say their monthly salaries are not commensurate to their work load calling government to increase their pay.

The support staff held their ground saying they deserved the increment which was promised to them by President Yoweri Museveni.

 “After we went hunting, those that were not involved are the ones enjoying the bigger share,” ranted Charles Kakuru the staff chairperson.

The VC Prof. Obua however, called upon the university workers to remain patient and wait for the negotiations in the 3 ministries of education, public service and finance which are expected to make a resolution today Friday.

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