National
Low Union numbers affecting minimum wage push in Uganda
Publish Date: May 30, 2014
Low Union numbers affecting minimum wage push in Uganda
Union delegates at a recent meeting
  • mail
  • img
newvision

Raymond Baguma

The low rate of unionization amongst workers in Uganda may be contributing to the low level of collective bargaining for minimum working wages in Uganda, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization.

An ILO World of Work report titled: “Developing with jobs,” presents an analysis of statistics on trade union membership in selected developing and emerging economies, showing union members as a percentage of employees and as a percentage of total employment.
 

Among the selected countries Uganda and Niger have the smallest number of employees belonging to unions. Workers’ unions are strong in Argentina, Armenia, Kenya, Romania and South Africa.

Other mentioned African countries with more unionized workers than Uganda include Egypt, Mauritius, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Lesotho.
 

The report notes that in the recent years there has been a decline of workers in unions; but highlights a need to focus on the influence trade unions can have over the workforce.
 

“These developments have a number of implications. First, the weakness or underdevelopment of employer and worker organizations may reduce the effectiveness of labour and social institutions as a whole.

Especially in the case of labour laws, effective enforcement requires awareness-raising, monitoring and other types of participation from employers and workers,” reads the report.
 

Also, if collective bargaining covers a small share of workers and majority workers lack alternative method to negotiate and determine their wages, then minimum wage setting may be the only option to influence wage outcomes.
 

Dr. Sam Lyomoki, the Member of Parliament representing workers blamed the low level of unionization on the breakdown of trade unions during the 1990s, the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes that led to retrenchment.
 

According to Lyomoki, there are 40 labour unions in Uganda under the two workers’ federations of NOTU and COFTU.

However, the 40 labour unions have a subscription of not more than 500,000 members, yet there is a potential membership of 10 million people.
 

“There is the thinking that in order to encourage investments, you need to have poorly paid workers with no strong bargaining power. But on the contrary, you need to have highly motivated workers with high productivity in order to attract investors,” said Lyomoki.
 

He said there are presently amended labour laws that favour workers to unionize. However, the problem is enforcement and workers are not sensitized about their rights to negotiate for better pay; while workers are also ready to take on poorly paying jobs.
 

Overall, the report notes that workers in developing countries are increasingly moving to better jobs and joining the middle class.

However, 839 million people representing a third of workers in developing countries earn less than US$2 per day.

The report notes that 1.5 billion people, representing more than half of all workers in the developing world work without contracts and social protection and often live in poverty.

RELATED STORY

Workers have a right to unionise

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Kivejinja clashes with SA diplomat over xenophobic attacks
Ex-minister Kirunda Kivejinja and H.E. Wendy Swartz, the SA High Commissioner to Uganda disagree over the genesis of the recent xenophobic attacks....
Makerere students charged with murder
Three students of Makerere University have been charged with the murder of a former student of the university, David Otim Ojok....
Masaka to host Chinese investors
The eight districts that makeup greater Masaka are expecting a delegation of Chinese investors in mid-May to foster mutual relations and promote joint trade links....
Museveni: Al-Shabaab already defeated
President Yoweri Museveni analyses the al-Shabaab war in Somalia and says the al-Shabaab force is already defeated....
CSOs want boda-boda riders to pay sh300,000  tax
In order to raise revenue for the government civil society organizations have proposed a tax slap in form of license fee on boda-boda riders to a tune of sh300, 000, per-annum...
Harriet Kisakye burial for Monday
Local female musician Harriet Kisakye who died at the International Hospital Kampala (IHK) on Saturday is to be buried at Bunamwaya Catholic Church on Monday...
Do you support KCCA'S move to return city communter buses?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter