A private guard attached to Pan African Carriers Uganda-Limited in Njeru has accused his employer of wrongful termination after he was fired for allegedly blocking one of the managers of Southern Range Nyanza Ltd (Nytil Textile) from accessing the premises for not wearing a facemask.
Mr George Muyomba, an employee of Pan African Carriers which shares premises with Nytil, says his woes started after he told Nytil general manager, Mr Vinay Kumar, to wear a facemask as per President Museveni’s directives, before he could access the premises.
According to the termination letter dated May 19, 2020, a copy of which was seen by this reporter, Pan African Carriers’ human resource manager, Ms Joanitah Nakawesi, accused Mr Muyomba of insubordination and selective enforcement of guidelines on facemasks.
“You locked the general manager outside the entry gate while he was reporting for duty on May 6, 2020 claiming that he had not put on a facemask. The general manager requested you to allow him entry and you sort out the matter while he was inside the factory premises but you were adamant. This is insubordination,” reads the letter in part.
The letter indicated that although Muyomba was advised to ensure that all staff (for both Pan African carriers and Nytil) wear facemasks while reporting for duty, he seemingly targeted the Indian managers but was lenient with other workers who accessed the factory without masks.
Nytil is one of the firms contracted by the government to manufacture face masks that will be distributed to Ugandans after the President announced that face masks would now be mandatory for everyone as the government moves to ease the virus-induced lockdown.
Mr Muyomba says his employer had resolved to deploy him in another unit after the scuffle with Mr Kumar but he was instead surprised to receive a sacking letter from his human resource boss.
“On May 6, I was deployed at the main gate and during my deployment, my boss (Kumar); the general manager came without wearing a facemask. I went and greeted him. Because President Museveni had said everyone going in the public must wear a facemask, I requested him to do so. Instead, he called HR ordering them to chase me because I had told him to put on the facemask. Days after (on May 19), they terminated my services from Nytil,” Mr Muyomba said.
Mr Kumar declined to respond to this reporter’s repeated phone calls by press time. However, Nytil’s corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Jimmy Mutesasira said Muyomba works for Pan African Carriers and not Nytil.
According to him, the information about the guard’s termination is being circulated by competitors in the textile industry.
“Ever since the president started endorsing Nytil as the leading producer of quality face masks in his different televised address, mafias started plotting against us. They are actually the ones responsible for misleading Muyomba,” he said before referring us to Mr William Okello, the Pan African Carriers Uganda-Limited’s logistics manager.
When contacted, Mr Okello said they (Pan African Carriers) had reconsidered their position and would reinstate Muyomba.
“When the president said all factory workers should sleep on site and wear facemasks, I think Muyomba just got over excited at the thought of implementing the directives. His case amounted to insubordination but as a company, we have resolved to reinstate him because he’s a good employee. We just don’t know what came over him to start harassing our neighbours’ manager,” Mr Okello said.