Industrial park investors cautioned on ‘casualisation’ of labour


Key ministries and labour unionists have initiated a joint compliance monitoring tour of industrial parks, starting with the Sino Uganda Mbale Industrial Park.

The tour aims to monitor compliance to labour laws and mitigate the excessive casualisation of the workforce to address labor concerns and enhance the welfare of industrial workers.

The tour was led by the State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations, Ms Esther Anyakun, along with the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization, Ms Evelyn Anite, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, David Bahati and workers’ MPs.

The compliance tour focuses on several critical aspects, including employment contracts.

The officials are expected to ensure that workers are not employed on a casual basis beyond legal limits and have proper employment contracts that include payment terms, compensation for injuries, mandatory leave (sick leave, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave), and insurance.

They are also assessing compliance with NSSF and PAYE contributions by verifying that employers are contributing to the National Social Security Fund and that Pay as You Earn tax deductions are being made from employees’ salaries.

The industrial tours will evaluate the safety measures in place to protect workers from occupational hazards, and assess rights to association and rights to participate in industrial action.

“It is about addressing the need to balance quantity and quality of employment created so as to guarantee Ugandas workforce descent work,” Minister Anyakun said during the visit.

Anyakun said it was important to observe employment regulations, which criminalises casualisation of labour for more than four months.

She urged investors to comply with the law and recognising the critical role they play in Uganda’s economic transformation process.

Investment minister Anite urged investors to comply with the labour law requirements and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Richard Mawuk, treasurer of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), stressed the importance of engaging with employers to negotiate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that determine the minimum terms and conditions agreeable under the law to the best interest of all parties involved.

He said the visit was not intended to blame or cores investors but rather to negotiate for equitable benefit between the tripartite partners; government, employers, and workers through their representative organizations and agencies.

He likened this effort to a formal introduction, akin to a boy visiting a girl’s home to introduce himself for a permanent relationship.

“We want ensure that jobs that are created here make meaning to all parties, the employer, the employee and government,” he said.

“It is not only to eat food but for the economy to grow.”

The benefits of CBAs include streamlining communication between employers and employees, minimising litigation from non-conformity to legal provisions, and addressing ambiguous situations within organizations.

By controlling labor turnover and providing job security, such agreements contribute to a more stable and productive workforce.

The Chairman of the Industrial National Coordinating Council, Mr Twaha Sempebwa, revealed that they petitioned the Minister of Privatization after facing resistance from some investors to embrace unions, denying employees the right to association amidst poor working conditions.

He highlighted that workers are not socially protected, do not subscribe to NSSF, and do not pay Pay as You Earn tax deductions.

The chairperson of Sino Uganda Industrial Park outlined steps taken to enhance workplace safety, including the establishment of a dedicated health and safety department.

The team toured sampled factories including Grace textile the diaper factory here they were impressed with the safety of the work environment.

The team hopes to return at a later date to assess the employment terms.


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