The chairman of Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum (Puntsef), Jackson Betihamah has given government a period of less than one month to have cleared their salary arrears and enhance their salaries as earlier agreed or they lay down their tools.
In an exclusive interview with Campus Bee, Betihamah said they are demanding a total of Shs31bn from government and if it’s not cleared, they will not even open all the public universities, come next semester.
“We had agreed with the president that our demands [of paying our arrears and enhancing our salaries] will be met in the last quarter of October. It’s now November and only Shs10bn was cleared out of the Shs28.5bn that we were demanding,” Betihamah explained.
He added that despite their patience, the ministry of finance has not yet come out to explain where their balance of Shs18.5bn was put.
Betihamah said they wouldn’t want government to take their demands as a joke, and they also need the money that was deducted from their account (of non-teaching staff in public universities) and used to start other public universities.
“We also need the Shs13bn that was used to start those new universities because it was meant to enhance our salaries,” Betihamah demanded.
Asked whether they have tried engaging the government peacefully, Betihamah said they have already written to ministry of finance and that of education, and are now awaiting their responses.
It should be noted that on August 1, 2016, non teaching staff, under Puntsef, laid down their tools for three weeks, which left all the public universities shut. President Museveni then promised to clear all the money that they were demanding for in October an agreement that, Betihamah says, hasn’t been fulfilled up to now.