WORKERS at the Nalubaale (Owen) Falls and Kiira Dams in Jinja are on a go-slow strike demanding a 20% pay rise.
WORKERS at the Nalubaale (Owen) Falls and Kiira Dams in Jinja are on a go-slow strike demanding a 20% pay rise. They started the go-slow last week and want to completely down tools and switch off power today if their demands are not met.
The Jinja workers belong to the Uganda Electricity Generation Company (UEGC) Ltd, a subsidiary of the Uganda Electricity Board. Others are the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETC) and the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company (UEDC). The striking workers are demanding a 20% pay rise as was given to their counterparts in Transmission. They are also demanding terminal benefits since they ceased to work for UEB after it was split into different independent entities.
For now management and government are negotiating with workers. The Board officials say they do not have a problem with salary review, which were stopped by the Privatisation Unit until the new companies have been privatised.
The situation is not all-desperate for the workers. There is somebody listening and talking to them. What is, however, very wrong is for workers in this sector, to ever go on strike. The power industry is an essential one like the army, the police, health, where it is illegal for staff to go on strike.
Just imagine if the police, despite their many problems and poor living conditions, went on strike. Chaos would reign.
Management should continue
negotiating with workers and sort out their problems as soon as possible. The workers must realise the gamble they are taking with national security, the economy and peopleâ€™s welfare. But the Government must deal firmly with them if they do not end the strike. It should in future outlaw the option of a strike at such a strategic place.