LABOUR DAY SUPPLEMENT UGANDA ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY LIMITED (UEDCL)
High poverty levels blamed on poor work ethics
By Carol Natukunda
You have seen it before. A meeting is slated for 9:00am. There is hardly anyone in the room. It will be until an hour or two later that people start airing. “You know, it is African time,” someone will try to throw the tired joke.
However, it is actually not funny if you arrived on time and have to painstakingly wait for latecomers. Take another example: you arrive at an office to make an inquiry. The receptionist does not even look up to greet you. She is engrossed in a WhatsApp chat – never mind that you are bringing them business.
This is an example of a perpetual habit among Ugandans that is costing companies heavily. In fact, a 2018 survey by Twaweza depicts Ugandans’ poor work ethic as contributing to poverty levels.
The survey, titled The haves and the have nots: Ugandans’ views and opinions on poverty, fairness and inequality, says over half (54%) of Ugandans say that the reason people are poor is laziness or a lack of personal effort.
In the study, fewer people mentioned external factors, such as social injustice (29%), luck (16%) and unemployment (11%). In the same vein, three times more people (62%) said hard work is the route to getting ahead in life/improving one’s status as compared to education (20%).
Most citizens (80%) also believe that hard work makes it easy to acquire wealth. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,925 respondents across Uganda, in May last year. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Labour agencies need to be streamlined
Due to the high unemployment rate in Uganda, especially among the youth, many have resorted to seeking jobs abroad. This has given rise to numerous labour agencies. The Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) was set up. Reagan Ssempijja spoke to the chairperson of the association, Andrew Tumwine Kameraho about their mandate and the external labour industry
Give us a brief background of UAERA
Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) started in 2013 with 12 member agencies. Our main objectives in the beginning was to unite and offer a common platform to organisations across the country to share information that will promote self-employment abroad. We also wanted to ensure advocacy for our interests as an association in the labour sector. Today, we have 147 members. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Minimum wage law hangs in balance
On February 19, the Minimum Wage Bill was finally passed by Parliament. There is only one step for it to become law — an assent by the President, writes Hannington Mutabazi
The Bill, which was championed by Workers’ Member of Parliament Arinaitwe Rwakajara first surfaced in 2013 when he sought leave of Parliament to prepare it (the Bill).
It was first presented on the floor of Parliament in 2015. He said the aim was to improve the livelihoods of employees in Uganda. The Bill seeks the establishment of minimum wage boards by the labour minister, mechanisms for determining minimum wages for each sector, duties, powers and functions of the board and the procedures for determining the minimum wage.
The minimum wage determination mechanism provides for two mechanisms, public and private mechanisms. Under the public wage determination mechanism, the minimum wages are determined by the board and apply to a given sector, while in private wage determination mechanism, parties agree contractually to a minimum wage that is applicable to them, as long as the wage is reviewed every two years and should not be lower than the minimum wage determined for that sector.
According to the Bill, if an employer pays less wages than the statutory minimum wage, he or she commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding 500 currency points, which is equivalent to sh10m for each offence or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both. 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. A minimum wage is the lowest amount of money a worker can be legally paid for his/her work. Most countries, especially developed countries have standard nationwide minimum wage that is a starter for every employee. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
When Labour Day evokes sad memories
By John B. Thawite
While workers all over the country are celebrating May 1 as the International Labour Day, for those in Kasese district, the day evokes sad memories. On May 1, 2013, residents expected the usual torrential rains, but not the devestation it caused. Many were gathered at Jima Playground, where the local celebrations were taking place.
On the day, several rivers in the district burst their banks, causing fl ooding in several parts. The rains came back in the fi rst weeks of May 2014 and 2015, causing several rivers, including Nyamwamba, Mubuku, Rwimi and Nyamugasani rivers, to burst their banks.
By the time the fl oods subsided, they had caused back-to-back destruction that saw over 15 people die in separate incidents and ravaged communities in their catchment areas. Tens of thousands of others were displaced and, public and private property worth billions of shillings, devastated.
The dead, included the then Kasese district procurement offi cer, Paddy Karusu, who was swept away by water from his shop in Kanyaruboga cell, in Bulembia division. Affected institutions included Kilembe Mines Hospital, where the river washed away the 84-unit staff quarters and destroyed critical hospital equipment and supplies. Scores of the hospital’s health workers have since been displaced.
Also hit, was the already ailing Kilembe Mines Limited, whose infrastructure, especially the administration offi ces in Bulembia division and the hydropower supply facilities at Nyakalengija on River Mubuku in Bugoye sub-county, were destroyed.
Bridges on rivers Mubuku on the Kasese-Fort Portal highway and Nyamugasani that connects Kyalhumba and Kyondo sub-counties, were damaged, paralysing access to social services, including markets, schools and health facilities. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
Vocational training key to end unemployment
By Umar Nsubuga
Michael Mulindwa trained as a mechanical engineer. Yet, he says he struggled to fi t into his role at his father’s motor vehicle garage. He could not handle some cars, especially those with the latest technology.
Their electronics system is more advanced and requires specialised training. His puzzle was solved at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute. He enrolled for a vocational course in mechatronics and his worries are now history.
The relatively new discipline combines both electrical and mechanical systems. The course also infuses elements of robotics, electronics and computer engineering. This is the fi rst course of its kind in the country and is pioneered by Nakawa Vocational Training Institute, with support from the Japanese government.
This is just one of the many vocational skills whose demand is on the increase because of advancements in technology. Yet, the available labour force, is largely illprepared as Mulindwa was. Multi-national fi rms are investing millions of dollars, expanding their operations in Uganda. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
‘36% of employees working long hours’
By Owen Wagabaza
The greatest causes of mortality are circulatory diseases (31%), work-related cancers (26%) and respiratory diseases (17%), according to a report released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The deaths are as a result of new or existing occupational risks that affect women more than men. These include modern working practices, population growth, increased digital connectivity and climate change. The report says 36% of workers are working excessively long hours, meaning that more than 48 hours per week, mainly because of changes in the world of work, which has turned every moment into ofice time as technology advances.
It is such challenges and grievances that led ILO to come up with the International Labour Day, to advocate for better laws and policies. Initially called the International Workers’ Day, it started in Chicago in May 1886 and further spread to other parts of the world, Uganda being no exception.
In 1884, the National Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Assemblies decided to call for a general strike on May 1, 1884, in Chicago, USA, to enforce demands for employers to observe the eight-hour day. Prior to the strike, workers were working for more than 12 to 16 hours a day and in unsafe conditions. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY