Nineteen employees of Uganda College of Commerce- UCC Aduku in Lira district are up in arms over none payment of their salaries. The affected workers have gone eight months without pay despite numerous promises by t authorities to resolve the problem.
The workers are pushing for payment of their salary arrears to the tune of Shillings 500M. The affected workers whose names are not on the government payroll are supposed to be paid by the College Governing Council.
None of the affected staff has reported for the first semester, which opened on February 24, 2020. A total of 134 students have so far reported. Patrick Bete, a lecturer in the Record and Information Management department, says he last received payment in June last year and his efforts to push for his salary haven’t yielded results.
Bete now says he has lost morale of performing his duties since he is unable to send his children to school due to delayed payment.
Another lecturer told URN on condition of anonymity that management bought the College bus on loan and all collections from students are being used to service the loans. This he says is what is affecting their payment.
According to the worker, he is considering laying down his tools since he is unable to contain pressure from his landlord due to the accumulated debt, which has compromised his relationship with community members. Fred Okori, a resident of Alany cell in Aduku Sub County, says they are heavily dependent on the college, adding that there are worried of an impending strike based on the way the college is being run.
He says Community members are considering staging a protest in solidarity with the affected workers. However, the College Principal, Michael Sam Nabwana says plans are under way to pay the affected staffers using the money they collected the last semester.
Juma Adams, the Chairperson Governing Council accuses the Principal of working “in a vacuum and isolation.” He explains that the tenure of the current members of the Governing Council expired but the Principal has failed to organise election fresh elections for new members.
In August last Year, the staff at the College turned rowdy and locked up office. They blocked the Accountant, Francis Omara from accessing office over unpaid salaries. The Criminal Investigation Directorate led by its Director, Grace Akullo has already launched investigations into the affairs of the institution following allegation of gross misappropriation of funds.
It came after a whistle blower sent an anonymous letter to her office on March 28th, 2019 citing financial impropriety and misconduct by college officials. CID is expected to release its findings sometime this month.
The team is investigating loss of Shillings 30 million contributed by students towards the purchase of the College bus, misappropriation of Shs.113M that was part of Shillings 2 billion meant for the construction of the new College Administration and Lecture block among other cases.