Staff at Makerere University who are on strike are likely to be penalized for absconding from duty, according to a circular issued by the university’s Director of Human Resources.
Staff, both administrative and academic at Uganda’s oldest and biggest institution of higher learning have been on strike for over two weeks now, demanding among others the lifting of suspension of the Chairman of the academic staff (MUASA), Dr Deus Kamunyu Muhwezi and two other staff Association leaders.
On Monday this week, the staff held a Joint General Assembly and resolved to maintain their industrial action despite appeals during the same meeting by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, to return to class. The staff insisted that the University Management reverses the suspension of the three leaders.
Prof Edward Nector Mwavu, the Vice Chairman of MUASA told SoftPower News on Monday that the strike is still on but that the staff leadership together with the Management are working to see it (strike) doesn’t stretch into the coming week.
“Strike is still on, we are still working and engaging. But it is still on,” Prof Mwavu said, adding that “we are trying to ensure it doesn’t continue into the next week”.
“We are working around the clock to see that we resolve this amicably”.
On Tuesday, Prof Nawangwe summoned University administrators for an emergency meeting, a day after he took to social media expressing displeasure in the decision by the staff to continue with the strike.
“It is regrettable that MAK staff association leaders abandoned the positions we reached to return full normalcy to the University,” Prof Nawangwe posted on Facebook after Monday’s General Assembly prior to which he had met with staff leaders.
Now in a new development, the Director Human Resources, Andrew Abunyang has issued a circular to all Principals, Directors, Deans, Heads of Departments (both academic and administrative) and members of staff threatening punishment for defiant staff.
He has asked Heads of Departments for both academic and administrative staff “to conduct a head count to establish the members of staff who have not yet resumed their duties and report to the Director, Human Resources” by 2pm yesterday, Tuesday.
“All staff who will not have reported for duty by 8pm on Wednesday 6th February 2019 will be considered to have absconded from duty and their case will be handled with the applicable laws and policies,” the Director Human Resources added in the circular dated February 5.
SoftPower News could not reach Prof Mwavu to get his comment on the directive by the Director of Human Resources as his know telephone contact was not available.
It should be recalled that in December last year, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor sacked over 40 staff including the controversial researcher, Dr Stella Nyanzi, for among other reasons absconding from duty.