Makerere University Academic Staff Association -MUASA has voted to end the strike that led to the closure of the institution over a month ago.
The vote, which brings hope for the reopening of the University, was held during an emergency general assembly held at Makerere University main hall this morning. 81 members voted in support of a motion to suspend the strike while 51 others wanted the strike to continue until their grievances are addressed.
The staff went on strike on October 25 demanding for their incentive arrears that had not been paid since February 2016. The incentive is additional financial package given to members of staff as an overtime allowance for undertaking extra duties. Such duties include among others, teaching evening and weekend classes.
The arrangement which started in 2013 has seen lecturers earn incentives amounting to 70 percent of their monthly salaries. The university pays up to 4 billion Shillings every month in incentives to it’s over 2,600 members of staff.
However, the university council had suggested earlier that the allowance be slashed by 75 percent on ground that it is not sustainable. The proposed reduction and the unpaid arrears amounting to 28 billion Shillings sparked off the lecturers strike.
The situation at the university worsened when students started a parallel strike protesting the nonappearance of lecturers. Following days of student-led violence in the suburbs of Wandegeya, Kikoni and other areas surrounding Makerere, President Yoweri Museveni directed that the university be indefinitely closed.
Dr Muhammad Kiggundu-Musoke, the Chairperson of MUASA said that the decision to end the strike was made in the interest of the nation and to allow room for further negotiations.
Dr Kiggundu appealed to stakeholders including parents, students and government to continue engaging lecturers in order to solve the problems at Makerere. Kiggundu noted that their mandate stops at ending the strike, while the decision to reopen is vested in the president.
Dr Kiggundu said that MUASA is convinced that the Visitation Committee established by the president to investigate the issues at Makerere University will dig out challenges at Makerere University.
Deus Muhwezi Kamunyu, the MUASA Publicist said the lecturers agreed to call off the strike in order to galvanize the good will of the donor community, parents and students.