Makerere University staff have threatened to lay down their tools over salary deductions.
Through their joint staff Associations; Makerere University Academic Staff Association- MUASA and Makerere University Administrative Staff Association- MASA, the staff said that they noticed an unusual cut in salaries for last month.
According to the staff, they sought clarification from the University management, but they were informed that the deductions were for non-pensionable and clinical allowances.
Information obtained by the Kampala Report shows that professors were deducted 500,000 Shillings, associate professors 300,000 Shillings, senior lecturers 152,000 Shillings, lecturers were deducted 120,000 Shillings, and assistant lecturers 70,000 Shillings.
The staff argued that the deducted funds belong to Makerere University’s wage budget, rather than the allowance budget, and were approved as wages for the Financial Year 2023/2023.
“These have always been paid on pay slips unlike the other allowances that were never paid on pay slips” reads part of the letter signed by MUASA Chairman Dr Robert Kakuru and MASA Vice Chairperson Paul Apunyo Okiria addressed to the Chairperson of the Makerere University Council.
“Section 15 of the Public Finance Management Act (2015) states that ministries Departments and Agencies must commit to the approved budget. Therefore, it is illegal to deduct wage that is already provided in the budget” There is a likely danger of returning our deducted wages/ salaries to the consolidated fund at the end of FY2023/2024 in line with section 17 of the Public Finance Management (2015),” reads the letter.
“The only money that was clearly indicated as allowances was the leadership allowance and incentives, which both were paid outside the salary before they were abolished. Everything else was and has always been paid as salary enhancement and contributed towards our consolidated salary.
According to the staff, the government cannot brutally and arbitrarily reduce the consolidated salary that is already paid on the pay slip. “Makerere University stopped earning allowances long ago, and No allowance is paid using a pay slip,” reads part of the letter.
The staff members contend that the amount in question, which is mistakenly considered an allowance, is, in fact, the result of salary enhancement.
“During a meeting where His Excellence the President hosted Muasa leaders to discuss the industrial action, he directed that 1.645 billion Shillings be allocated to enhance salaries for staff. Therefore, this money was a result of salary enhancement, not allowances that is why it has always been paid on wage, not as allowance.”
“The staff is not ready to lose the salary enhancement from His excellence the President because of the failure by the University management and the Ministry of Public Service to capture the record on the pay slip well,” argued the staff.
The staff have asked the university management not to deduct their salary for June 2023 and subsequent months should not be subject to any deductions. They also want the deducted salaries reimbursed this month.
According to the staff, failure to honor their request will result in suspension of services.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the suspension of labor will begin a day after salaries have been paid contrary to the resolution, and the suspension of labor will include; the University activities such as Examinations, internships, school practice, admissions, etc.”
The University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe and the University Secretary refused to comment on the matter when contacted.