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Friday, July 19, 2024

ULFA Strikes Over Salaries, Insurance Benefits

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The University of Liberia Faculty and Staff Association (ULFASA) has announced the disengagement of its members from all academic activities on six (6) counts against the UL Administration.

Their decision comes in the wake of the ongoing online registration of students attending the state-run university in anticipation of the resumption of learning activities for another fresh academic semester.

Over the weekend at the Capitol Hill campus of the University of Liberia in Monrovia, over 300 members of the University of Liberia Faculty and Staff Association (ULFASA) held an emergency general assembly and arrived at the decision through a joint resolution to disengage from classes.

In the resolution a copy of which in the possession of this paper, the association demands to pay all part-time faculty members monthly and the payment should be made in United States Dollars as per their contract or the Liberian Dollars equivalence at the Central Bank of Liberia prevailing rate rather than the UL self-determined rate.

They also want the administration to pay back to part-timers the difference between the UL self-determined rates used to currently pay the part-timers and the Central Bank of Liberia rate as of December 2023 when the payment was approved.

“That the entire amount deducted from ULFA/ULSA members, but not remitted to ACTIVA Insurance for over three (3) months should be fully refunded to ULFA/ULSA members,” the statement said.

ULFASA further maintains that its members will remain disengaged from returning to the classroom until the university administration takes concrete or visible actions in addressing the salary disparity among staff of the institution.

The staff and faculty emphasized that the President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson should equally address the overdue implementations of the promotion and tenure of faculty members, noting that the UL President promised to have done so in two weeks as of February 8, 2024.

“The University Authority should provide at least a mini bus for the transportation of Faculty and Staff Members of the STRAZ Sinje College campus of the University, Bomi County, before the start of the upcoming second semester,” the joint resolution stressed.

At the same time, ULFASA noted that concrete and visible actions should be taken by the university authority in addressing the bathrooms sanitation issues on the campuses, as well as the unfriendly academic environment in the Academic Building (AB Building) in Fendell.

Prior to taking the collective decision, the resolution said the President of ULFA, Dr. Edna Johnny briefed the General Assembly on the historical settings of the delay in part-time faculties’ salaries despite the numerous unfulfilled promises of payment over the last six to seven months and missteps in the processing of part-timers’ service contracts without the direct inputs of Department Heads that hired the faculty members in their various Department;

“Whereas, ULSA executives after exhausting all discussions and negotiations with the UL Administration to address the salary disparity among the Staff of the University, have realized no concrete actions taken by the University Authority to address the said salary disparities among members of the Administrative staffs,” the statement noted.

Giving the background of their action, the association stressed that the University of Liberia authority has not been up to date in transmitting to ACTIVA Insurance Company four (4) months contributions deducted from both faculty and staff members of the university, which led to ACTIVA suspension of her services to the beneficiaries of the services.

“Whereas, ULFASA members lamented on several issues affecting their welfare including the failure of the UL Authority to remit deductions made for ACTIVA Insurance for over three (3) months thus putting members at risk, and the failure of the UL Authority to remit dues of ULFA and ULSA after deduction from their members,” the statement added.

It averred that the UL administration has consistently delayed the implementation of the promotion of faculty members after the administration committed to doing so for more than one year and recommitted at a closing program of an Expanded Cabinet Retreat held on February 8, 2024.

“Whereas, the HR Manual that was said to be adopted/approved by UL Administration lately, is mostly top UL Administration friendly and didn’t considered the inputs previously made by ULFA; Now, therefore, assembled on the Capitol Hill Campus of the University of Liberia, on 23rd February 23, 2024, members of the University of Liberia Faculty and Staff Association (ULFASA) unanimously voted and resolved not to engage in any academic activities until the following conditions are met,” the resolution stated.

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