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Labour | Science - Education

University lecturers in Uganda call off strike

afrol News, 21 December - Lecturers at Uganda's Makerere University have called off weeks of strikes after they were assured of a salary increase. Uganda's lead university has been closed by the government, fearing the reaction of unruly students.

Makerere University will remain closed until the university's highest decision making council decides its opening. But the Chairman of Makerere University Academic Staff Association, Augustus Nuwagaba, confirmed that lecturers have agreed to return to class.

"They suspended the strike because there was some increment in what they were asking for in terms of salaries for professors," Mr Nuwagaba told 'VOA', adding that all professors were granted about US$ 1, 600. He said there has been an increment of up to US$ 500 per month.

"So there was an increase of approximately 800,000 Uganda shilling, which we think is a good increment, although we did not get the exact position which we had wanted," he said, describing the increment as across board for all lecturers.

"Everyone has been increased proportionately, from the professors up to the teaching assistants".

It was reported that the strike was called off through President Yoweri Museveni's divide and rule strategy among lecturers. But the MUASA Chairman begs to differ.

"I think what happened before was that the increment in salaries had been done for the younger teaching staff, leaving out the professors. I think this is what people could have called the divide and rule. But eventually later, the MUASA executive insisted that there must be increment across the board, and this forced the University Council also to provide for increment for the professors, which then on proactive basis moved down to teaching assistants," he said.

"The staff of academic persons in public universities is still the lowest compared to other public servants both in Uganda and in the region. What the staff have been demanding for is something very modest, genuine, and absolutely the lowest," he said.

"The government still has not prioritised education … and while it wants to pay for the cars of members of parliament, it continues, for example, not to prioritise the remuneration of the staff in public universities," he said.

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