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Court Okays Mak Dons to Represent Staff in Suit Against University

The Assistant Lecturers want to recover salary arrears from the Financial Year 2015/2016 to date, retirement benefit arrears, salary reinstatement, damages and costs of the suit from Makerere. The value of the claim is approximately Ugx. 8Billion.
14 May 2019 14:08
Main Building Makerere
The Industrial Court has granted permission to the six Makerere University dons to represent 95 Assistant Lectures in a suit challenging the institution for breach of contract, particularly illegally amend their salary scales from M6 to M6.1 and M6.2, putting the petitioners to M6.2. 

They are Isaac Mugume, Janet Kasule Nabalika, David Mpiima Mugambe, Asiimire Priscilla, Abubaker Sadik Mustafa and Robert Kakuru.  

The case was before a panel of industrial court justices led by Court’s Chief Judge Asaph Ruhinda Ntegye, Hon. Lady Justice Linda Lillian Tumusiime Mugisha, Fidel Ebyau, Harriet Mugambwa Nganzi and F.X. Mubuuke.  

The decision is contained in an order signed by Sylvia Nabaggala, the acting Registrar at the Industrial Court on Friday, May 11, 2019.  

The staff according to their petition, say their contracts were breached or unfairly amended by the university from more favourable terms to unfavourable terms.  

Lecturers want to recover salary arrears from the Financial Year 2015/2016 to date, retirement benefit arrears, salary reinstatement, damages and costs of the suit from Makerere. The value of the claim is approximately 8 billion shillings.  

According to Kakuru, more Assistant Lecturers are expressing interest to join the case.

So far 27 Assistant Lecturers have officially expressed interest to join the case. The number is expected to increase. 

The claimants say they were appointed as assistant lectures by Makerere University between 2002 and 2018 under Salary Scale M6 and M6.2.

They also argue that the university human resources manual as amended from time to time was incorporated as part of the employment contract of the assistant lecturers where the said manual does not have M6.2 Salary Scale.

In the financial year 2015/2016, the university without following the enshrined terms of employment contract, amended the Salary Scale of the claimants from M6 to M6.2 a lower and an unfavourable salary scale.

According to the lecturers, the act of amending their salary scale was calculated to defraud, discriminate them from fully benefiting from the presidential enhancements of salaries of Public Universities.  

“His Excellency the President’s pledge to enhance salaries for all university academic staff was never intended to cause a split of salary scales, neither was it intended to cause and promote discrimination among academic staff,” assistant lecturers say. 

In 2017, the Adhoc committee created by the Makerere University Council at its 140th sitting dubbed Salary Harmonization Committee observed that salary discrepancy created under science category M6.1 was at 6.5 million shillings while M6.2 was at 4.8 million shillings which created a difference of 1.6 million shillings. 

For Humanities and Social Sciences, M6.1 dons were at 6million and M6.2 at 4.3million shillings, creating a disparity of 1.7 million shillings.

“We have exhausted the internal mechanisms to rectify the anomaly amicably but Makerere took no heed and has never paid our salary arrears from FY 2015/2016 to date,” add. 

Last year, the Kampala Capital City Authority - KCCA Labour Court ordered Makerere to refund 2.9 billion shillings to its administrative staff arising from similar salary discrepancies.

KCCA Labour Officer, Hannington Kasaga faulted the university in his ruling noted that the creation of the M6.1 and M6.2 salary scales was an illegality in itself committed by the university.