Kinyara Sugar battles unionists

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd August 2011 03:00 AM

THE Kinyara Sugar management is locking horns with workers over a pay rise.

By Chris Kiwawulo

THE Kinyara Sugar management is locking horns with workers over a pay rise.

Sources said the Friday meeting at the
firm’s Kampala offices on First Street Industrial Area was pushed to today after the workers insisted they be granted a 25% pay rise not the 9% the management offered.

Bruno Pajobo, the National Union of Agriculture, Plantation and Allied Workers Union (NUAPAWU) general secretary, is negotiating for workers, while Hari Swaminathan, is representing the Kinyara general manager,
Vekatraman Ramadasan.

“The news is that we are negotiating a salary increment for workers with their union,” Russell Moro, the Kinyara company secretary, said.

But Pajobo described the 9% salary increment offer from the management as “too small.”

“We agreed with their proposal to give workers sh4,000 for breakfast, sh6,000 for lunch and sh10,000 for supper.
“But we disagreed on the 9% salary increment and sh30,000 for accommodation.
“We asked management for a 25% salary increment and sh40,000 for accommodation because the cost of living has gone up considerably,” Pajobo explained.
Kinyara is in the middle of a struggle between the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) headed by Dr. Sam Lyomoki and NUAPAWU. COFTU wants to take charge of the workers from NUAPAWU.
But the NUAPAWU leaders have vowed to fight the switch, which they claim is being instigated by prominent politicians in Masindi.
“Influential politicians in Masindi are using some workers and COFTU to fight our union (NUAPAWU).
“The politicians claim NUAPAWU does not support them during elections,” a senior employee at Kinyara said.
Sources said Mwesigwa Rukutana, the trade state minister, recently visited Kinyara to try to resolve the conflict.
Kinyara management revises workers’ pay annually, but these misunderstandings are said to be behind the delay in the new pay deal.

Problems at Kinyara have been partly blamed for the current sugar crisis, which pushed the prices to as high as sh8,000 a kilogramme recently.

Kinyara Sugar battles unionists

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