By Henry Sekanjako
UGANDA has been put to task to explain its failure to establish a minimum wage at the ongoing international labor organization conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to Workers’ MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara who is currently attending the conference in Geneva together with other MPs, Uganda was faulted for failure to pass a law on minimum wage even when it ratified the international convention on labor laws.
“The conference expressed concern over our country’s failure to pass a law on minimum wage yet we are members of the international labor organizations,” MP Rwakajara told New Vision in a phone interview from Geneva.
He noted that the committee of experts on international labor laws has given Uganda up to Thursday June 5 to explain to the conference the country’s plans to have a minimum wage which he said is an international requirement for members of international labor organizations.
Rwakajara added that government which is represented by state minister for labour, Rukutana Mwesigwa at the conference, would deliver a statement on Thursday.
Last year, MPs Rwakajara and Paul Mwiru moved a bi-partisan motion before parliament seeking to revise the country’s minimum wage.
The House overwhelmingly welcomed the motion and granted Rwakajara leave of Parliament to draft a private members’ Bill that would form the basis for the proposed Minimum Wages Bill 2011.
If eventually passed into law, it will introduce a minimum hourly amount that employers will have to pay their workers.
Uganda last set a minimum wage of sh6, 000 per month in 1984, which has remained in force to this day.
The Minimum Wage Advisory Council in 1995 recommended a sh75, 000 minimum monthly wage for unskilled workers, which has never been implemented.
Unionists have for long been pushing government to fix the minimum wage at sh250,000 to protect workers from exploitation.
However, last year during the Labour Day celebrations, President Yoweri Museveni assured minimum wage crusaders that Government will not rush into setting a minimum wage saying the focus was on attracting investors to create more job opportunities.
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Uganda tasked to explain absence of minimum wage