This decision was announced by the Joint Staff Associations, including MUASA, MASA, and NUEI, during a media briefing at Bativa Hotel in Kampala after police, led by Sergeant Muhwezi, blocked the original venue within Makerere University.
MUASA Chairperson, Dr. Robert Kakuru, revealed a prolonged dispute over salary harmonization, exacerbated by the Ministry of Public Service’s unfulfilled promise of 12 billion shillings in the 2023/2024 budget.
An emergency general assembly set an ultimatum for the government to address the matter by August 18, 2023, with a subsequent 90-day ultimatum that expired in November 2023. The staff extended the deadline to January 14, 2024, beyond which they threatened industrial action.
Justine Namudde of NUEI-Makerere Branch highlighted the unfairness of disparate salaries for equally qualified individuals, citing a significant pay gap between Makerere and Kyambogo University employees. MUASA Deputy Secretary General, Joan Kakongoro, emphasized the administration’s failure to fulfill agreements, despite numerous attempts by the staff.
While Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, appealed to Parliament for urgent funds, Kakuru expressed skepticism, noting a similar appeal last year yielded no funding.
The ongoing struggle for salary harmonization dates back to 2017, prompting the University Council to form a committee chaired by Thomas Tayebwa. The committee estimated a need for 23 billion shillings to align salaries with other public universities.
The staff’s decision to strike coincides with the upcoming semester and the 74th graduation ceremony, adding urgency to their demand for equitable compensation.