Minister accused of inciting workers
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
Kampala- A cross section of workers’ representatives have accused Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde of teaming with “oppressive foreign investors” to disrupt trade union activities.
The representatives, during a closed door meeting at the Ministry of Gender headquarters in Kampala, asked Ms Kyambadde never to interfere in workers affairs, and instead leave the matters to the line ministry.
“The honourable minister was wrong to go and incite workers at Wagagai flower farm in Entebbe to leave the union. This is not the first time she is doing so because she caused confusion in Mayuge [District] in a similar way,” former workers MP Bruno Pajobo said during the heated meeting.
He said the minister was overstepping her mandate by interfering in workers’ affairs when there is a full ministry for labour.
The meeting was summoned after Ms Kyambadde visited Wagagai farm and allegedly requested workers willing to leave trade unions to do so because the unions were taking part of their salaries and yet they were doing nothing.
Among the officials who attended the meeting were State minister for Labour Mwesigwa Rukutana, Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana, Ms Kyambadde and officials from the National Organisation for Trade Unions.
Mr Stephen Barasa, the secretary general Uganda Horticultural Industrial Service Providers and Allied Workers Union, said it was not proper for a minister to defend employers paying Ugandan workers Shs72,000 per month, Shs7,200 housing allowance and Shs500 transport with the current high cost of leaving.
Mr Robert Matuku, the chairman Global Heritage, Cultural and Environmental Workers Rights Network, said employers have ganged up to destroy unions that all human rights defenders should stand against.
Mr Rukutana, however, said employers need workers and trade unions need employers and they should therefore coexist.
Ms Kyambadde, who had first requested that journalists move out of the meeting, accepted to always channel labour affairs through the line ministry.