Academic staff from several universities and polytechnic, in a position paper, have asked the Government to make a 100 percent increment in take up salaries or impose a strike action.
The lecturers, through the Union of Academic Staff Association, said the increment is to address the “deplorable conditions of University Staff” amid rising cost of living in Sierra Leone.
This request comes nearly three years after the government made a 75 percent increment in 2020 and implemented it the following years in 2021 and 2022. The lecturers said inflation among other things have made the value of the increment “obsolete”.
The Union also complained that the government since take-over of salary and other payments has failed to pay other extra fees as agreed in 2021.
“The University Conditions of Service (CoS) also stipulated as rent allowance that has not been paid by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) since takeover of salaries and approved increment that was made in 2020,” the Union said.
They also complained that there has been no salary increment for staff that were promoted in 2019.
They added that the government also failed to pay severance payments to their colleagues at the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU), Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology (EBKUST), Eastern Technical University and Government Technical Institute (GTI) since they were upgraded to universities and polytechnic respectively.
The Sierra Leonean Government agreed about two years ago to takeover emoluments of tertiary institutions for two years. The agreement was to see the government pay 80 percent of salaries while tertiary institutions pay the remaining 20 percent.
However, the government is said to failed to honour the agreement. The Union also said universities are also struggling to pay their 20 percent and that one of the reasons is government’s owing the universities billions of Old Leones in Grants-in-Aid (SLG) fees.