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Setting minimum wage is not possible, says labour minister

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By JESSICA SABANO

Posted  Tuesday, December 17  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Combining efforts. Minister says this can only be achieved if the private sector works with the government.

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Mokono- The state minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana, has said the government cannot set a minimum wage in an atmosphere characterised by job scarcity.

While addressing the members during the 7th National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu) conference in Mukono, Mr Rukutana said the government would only look into the matter after creating a sufficient job market that can at least accommodate about 70 per cent of Uganda’s working age group.

However, he added this could only be achieved if the private sector is ready to work with the government.
He said this while commissioning Notu’s new executive, were Mr Wilson Owere was returned as the union’s national chairman for the next five years.

More than 60 per cent of Ugandans are either underemployed or not employed at all, according to data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

The country also has a youth unemployment rate that stands at more than 70 per cent. At least more than 400,000 students graduate from higher institutions of learning but less than 9,000 are absorbed into gainful employment.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Owere said in the next five years the union would ensure that the Industrial Court is adequately empowered to handle workers’ grievances.

Mr Stanley Kaggwa, the union’s national vice chairman, told the Daily Monitor, that even with Mr Rukutana’s remarks, the union would not tire in pushing the government to set a minimum wage.

He said they would use all means possible, including dialogue to see to it that a minimum wage is set.

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