On October 7, marked the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). Industrial National Coordinating Council- Uganda (INCCU) commemorated the day on Monday in a conference to that took place at Jevine Hotel in Rubaga under the theme “Promote Decent Work, Stop Precarious”.
The conference was attended by Government officials, employers and employees to tackle the dangers of precarious work in Uganda.
Pledges from employee agencies
According to Ms Catherine Aneno, the coordinator of IEAUBP, precarious work is non-standard employment that has no social protection and always impacts on the rights to organise and form labour unions.
“We are ready to create an awareness campaign on the danger of precarious work to the economy of Uganda,” Aneno said.
She added that it does not make sense for someone to spend too much time and money at the a university only to graduate and join the employment world as casual labourers thus saying they will not rest until workers have job security rather than working under no contract.
Ms Julian Nyachwo on behalf of Federation of Uganda Employers, said that investors in a bid to make more profits tend to seek for cheap labour not by will but because of economic environment thus bringing about precarious work. “Although it is beyond control, the existence of precarious work affects the economy and employees find themselves in this situation but I promise that we shall work hard to promote decent work” Nyachwo said.
“It is true that precarious work is rampant because as a labour inspector, I have gone to different companies and witnessed it; it is so bad to the extent that some companies do not want to let us in to inspect their workers because they do not want us to see the conditions under which they work” Mr Moses Papa, who represented Mr Martin Wandera the Director of labour, employement and occupational safety and health, said.
He went on to say that casualisation and subcontracting in organisation is still a big challenge as one cannot be on probation for more than six months because the government condemns it.
He added that the theme of this year’s International workers’ day is to promote decent work because the government is on the move to finalise the minimum wage and also reduce precarious work.
The member of Parliament representing workers, Charles Bakkabulindi, said he is going to work hard to involve the informal sector in different workers’ unions in order to raise their bargaining power so as to address their issues on precarious work thus promoting decent work.
“Government is working on finalising the minimum wage to be increased so that the informal sector or casual workers get decent salaries.
Precarious work Vs Decent work
According to INCCU, Ugandan economy will continue to suffer precariousness of work if the trend is not monitored or checked closely from lack of job security, casualising of labour, piece rate, labour broking, sub-contracting, low pay and ambiguous employment relationship that fall outside the scope of legislation.
Failure to establish the employment relationship by some employees or undermining of the employment relationship not only increases workers vulnerability but also severely limits the excise of freedom of association at both the organising and bargaining levels.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), decent work involves opportunities for work that are productive and deliver a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.