About 3,000 employees at Makerere University are up in arms over another delay by the institution to pay staff salaries a week into the new month of June.
Angry workers revealed through one of the staff associations that this is the second time they have suffered salary delays this year.
May salaries for both teaching and non-teaching staff have not been posted to-date, a situation which resulted in most of them failing to take their children back to school on time, staff said. Schools re-opened for second term on May 28.
Yesterday, Dr Robert Kakuru, the chairperson of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (Muasa), told Daily Monitor that frustrated workers at the university are being “stressed” by repeated delays in payment of salaries.
“In April, salaries were delayed while children were returning home. Now, the salary is delayed while children are returning to school. Above all, exams are beginning on Monday. Management needs to know that this is causing a lot of stress to our members,” Dr Kakuru said.
Promising to bring the matter before an upcoming staff meeting, the Muasa chief criticised the university management for its countless excuses, especially considering that other public universities pay salaries on time.
Under pressure, University Secretary, Mr Yusuf Kiranda, had on May 26 and June 1 sent out emails to staff blaming the situation on an, as yet, incomplete migration to a new payment system.
Payroll data, he said, was being moved from the decades’ old decommissioned Integrated Personnel and Payroll System to the new Human Capital Management System. Challenges were, however, encountered after some staff data files did not seamlessly migrate to the new system, he said.
Dr Kiranda had also informed staff, who are busy overseeing end of semester examinations, that salaries would be released by last week. One week after the promised date no employee has received May pay.
“I have been assured that the payroll will be available by the end of May 26. This means we can only start paying salaries on May 29.This email therefore aims to inform you of the delays in salary payment for May,”Mr Kiranda said in his communication to staff.
Over the weekend on Sunday, June 5, Mr Kiranda wrote again, this time advising colleagues that most of the necessary data had now been submitted to the Ministry of Finance.
“Management finalised the salary payment process on the university side on May 31 for 2,529 staff where the migration was successful. Following further engagement, the Ministry of Public Service agreed on another 451 staff whose data had issues being migrated,”Mr Kiranda said.
He pleaded with staff to be patient as the university now awaits clearance from the Finance ministry.
Last evening, Mr Kiranda said that the migration to the new system was as a result of a directive from the Ministry of Public Service advising all government bodies to migrate to the new system.
The system migration is taking place in the middle of an ongoing Civil Service-wide payroll audit by the Auditor General. The audit seeks to verify the total number of government employees in order to rid the sector of the perennial problem of ghost workers through which government loses billions of shillings in embezzled funds.
“If they submitted on time, then due process will take place. Our principle is that between 15th and 30th [of every month] salaries and wages are made. These are entitlement for all public servants which do not suffer budget cuts,” he said.
There are nearly 3,000 teaching and non-teaching staff on the government payroll at Makerere University.