Arguably in the 20 years of its existence, MUBS is known as a strike free
institution among Universities in the country. However, on May 24, 2018 the Academic Staff through their Association, MUBASA wrote to the Principal notifying him of their planned Industrial Action, if Management did not meet their demands. Following their notice, Prof. Waswa Balunywa addressed the MUBASA Executives and responded to their grievances.
Staff in the Person To Holder Category;
That there’s a variety of staff with a person to holder salary which arose out of unique circumstances under which they were recruited. The majority of whom were the Graduate Assistants who have been converted into Lecturers or Assistant lecturers or Teaching Assistants. These staff did not receive a salary enhancement from government and management had written to relevant ministries over these matters. However to date, no money for the salary enhancement for these staff has been received.
It is a well-known fact that this matter is NOT within the control of management and management
had done its role. This matter should therefore be addressed to the relevant ministries who could ably
respond to it. Therefore, the current manner in which the strike is being called appears to be addressing the matter to management but I would like to assure you that we have done our role and information on what we did was sent to the MUBASA Chairman. It is best if a petition is made to government rather than strike.
Outstanding payments due to staff
There were various issues raised about outstanding various payments due to staff, it was discovered that while some faculties had received p a y m e n t s , others had not and indeed some had not initiated these payments. Those that had not initiated payment were requested to do so to make sure that payments to staff are made. A small committee was set up to identify what was outstanding so that it is paid. Given the way we collect fees, there are expected delays in paying staff. Therefore, this is not a matter that should result into industrial action of the nature and magnitude that is being called.
Payments of Teaching Assistants
Another issue was in regard to payments of Teaching Assistants. It was noted that because of the changes in the School Information Management Systems, new staff including Teaching Assistants could not easily be added to the regular pay roll. However, these staff had been paid by allowing them to secure advances. This is a technical issue that will be overcome. Like the above, it should not be an issue for industrial action.
Payment of Top notch salary
When the salary enhancement funds were received last year, it was divided among staff using
their salary scale and their notch in the scale. Academic staff were able to receive 5% increment
in their pay. We wrote to government over this matter and we await a response from them. This will enable us pay all staff categories the same salary despite its apparent shortcomings. Similarly, this should not be an issue that should result into industrial action
This item has been discussed extensively and a position was agreed upon. To date it is an unfunded priority
Abolition of top up
The exercise by government to enhance salaries is intended to streamline salaries in all public universities including MUBS to create a degree of parity among different categories of staff. This matter was approved by Council. If there are new proposals on it they should be made known and it will be unfortunate to call for industrial action on an issue which has no disagreement. MUBS staff like any other Ugandans had a right to protest inequalities or unfairness through different legal means including a strike. Nobody should infringe on the rights of those who want to strike, however, a strike should be agreed on and not forced. If there are people who wish not to strike, they should not be intimidated, resolving such matters comes from discussions and agreement. The current situation of the Person To Holder category is not a matter that was created with an intention of making staff suffer.
True, staff now have their Masters Degrees and indeed different staff are earning different salaries which is unfair. However, if this matter is approached properly, it should be resolved appropriately. To individuals who took advantage of the planned strike to insult others, this behavior is definitely not acceptable. MUBS is a highly respected institution held in high esteem and such a language used by some of the individuals lowers the esteem of not only the institution but all of us individually. Given the information stated above, I find very little ground for industrial action in the manner it is being addressed. Statements like “management will vomit our money”, “We must get what government gave us and we have not received” were intended to incite the unsuspecting members of MUBASA. The most apt manner in raising these grievances and addressing them is to define the problem properly and address it to the right people. However, we should not strike through intimidation and use of bad language. We need to act in a civil manner, exercise our rights and judgment to do what we think is best for us .
Based on the information provided, I appeal to MUBASA to review their decision. I recommend that MUBASA makes a petition to government and hear their view. Staging a strike at MUBS will not yield the intended result. Continued attacks on individuals and use of bad language will be handled as per the School’s rules and regulations.
“I call upon the MUBASA leadership to provide the proper leadership and all the staff to be civil and judicious as we find solutions to the challenges as we enable the future of our clients .