Gulu university non-teaching staff begin sit-down strike over pay

Students read outside closed offices and Library at Gulu University main campus this morning. Photo by Irene Abalo.

GULU–About 200 non-teaching staff from Gulu University today started a sit-down strike over unpaid arrears.

The decision was reached after a general assembly meeting organised by the Gulu University Senior Administrative Staff Association executive.

The assembly resolved that members lay down their tools until the university administration clears all their salary enhancement arrears.

A notice on the administration block notice board reads:
“This is to inform all staff and students of Gulu University that the non-teachingstaff have resolved to lay down their tools starting September 15, 2017…”

Mahamoud Khalid, the association’s chairman, told our reporter this morning that the strike stems from unresolved grievances among non-teaching staff over payment of their salary arrears for the financial year 2015/2016.

He said government through the Finance ministry released Shs3.3 billion for clearing all the arrears but only Shs1.9 billion has been used to clear arrears for four months.

Mahamoud Khalid (centre), the chairman Gulu University Senior Administrative Staff Association, chats with a colleague after an executive meeting that resolved on the strike. Photo by Irene Abalo.

He said the non-teaching staff are demanding about Shs1.38 billion from the university.

“People are already at home. We are here as leaders to bridge the gap between the staff and management. Our intention is not to paralyze business,” Mahamoud said.

A non- teaching staff who preferred anonymity told our reporter that he has been demoralized because the University has not been transparent about their payments since government released money for their payment in January for the last quarter.

“The President promised that we would be cleared, that was in August last year. There was a payment schedule that government agreed to pay us with in three phases but all the money came in the last quarter in January this year. So why are they not paying us all our money?” he asked.

By 9:36am today, Gulu University main Library and the registrar’s offices remained closed and students were seen reading from the compound.

Emma Kazombo, a second-year student of Bachelor of Arts in Education, said he came to pick a registration form from the office of the registry but found it locked without any notice. He says he later learnt that the secretary who issues the registration form was on strike too.

Linda Nafula, a first year student of Agri Entrepreneurship and Communication Management, was seated seated outside the closed library by press time.

“They normally leave the library open until 10:00pm but last evening when I came, it was closed. I feel inconvenienced because reading from out is inconveniencing,” Nafula said.

Edward Owacgui, the deputy speaker Gulu University Guild government, said student leaders are planning to call an emergency meeting of the executive to forge a way forward.



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