The National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU), a non-profit labour Organisation that represents millions of Ugandan workers has asked Parliament to pass the minimum wage into law.
Speaking at the commemoration of International Labour Day at Kololo Independence Grounds on Sunday, the NOTU Chairman, Usher Wilson Owere informed the nation that the President Museveni returned the Minimum Wage Bill to Parliament, but the House has since not deliberated on or.
“There is an issue of minimum wage. I remember we sat with you (Museveni), we agreed on some things and the Ministry of Gender started moving, but when we saw them moving slowly, we went ahead of them, and our Member of Parliament presented a private member’s Bill which was passed by the 10th Parliament. It was brought to you, you didn’t sign it, you returned it to Parliament,” Owere said.
“Me, I am not coming back to you, I am asking Parliament since the Speaker is here; Rt Hon Speaker, where is the Bill which was returned to you. Where is that Bill. The President pronounced himself, you are also going to pronounce yourself on that issue,” he added.
Owere’s remarks were echoed by the Chairman, Federation of Uganda Employers, Eng. Sliva Mugisha who called for a win – won solution between workers and employers.
“The workers have consistently raised the issue of minimum wage, and fair treatment at work places. The Federation of Uganda Employers is committed to continuous engagement and advocating for a comprehensive win win employee welfare solution that promotes labour productivity and employment sustainability. We can talk about minimum wage, but as we talk about it, we also need to look at productivity and also how employment can be sustained. We don’t want something to be done on one side, and kills something on the other side,” Mugisga said.
Meanwhile, Owere noted that the former Minister of Gender, Labour and Socal Development, said there is adequate law on employment.
“Where is that adequate law,”? Owere asked
In response, the Gender Minister, Betty Amongi said, the Employment Act of 2006 secures workers rights, including the right to be issued with the appointment letter and contract of service, freedom of association, workers’ compensation for injury, descent working conditions at work place, provision of personal protective equipment at work place, payment of wages on time, provision of leave (maternity leave, weekly rest and rest on public holidays).
“Most of these issues have been raised on the floor of Parliament by Members of Parliament,” she said.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Socal Development has scaled up inspection and engagement with the employers with a view of engaging how we protect these rights. We are continuing with engagement, and will facilitate more respect of these rights,” she added.