Mediation between Uganda Airlines, former boss flops

Uganda Airlines Bombardier aircraft shortly after they were delivered at Entebbe airport in 2019. PHOTO | FILE 

What you need to know:

  • The Wakiso District Labour Office says it will now refer the matter to the Industrial Court after Uganda Airlines or a government representative failed to appear at two scheduled meetings.

A mediation process that had sought to find an agreeable solution in a Shs3.3b case between Uganda Airlines and it former boss has collapsed, according to details obtained by Daily Monitor. 

The case, details indicate, has now been referred to the Industrial Court for disposal given that no Uganda Airlines or government official appeared at the scheduled mediation meetings. 

“Uganda Airlines did not appear on two consecutive occasions. We hope they appear in the Industrial Court.  Otherwise the case will proceed to be heard and determined in their absence. They should defend the actions they took, that is how issues will be resolved,” Mr Fred Muwema, whose law firm - Muwema & Co Advocates & Solicitors - is representing Mr Cornwell Muleya, who is challenging his sacking from Uganda Airlines.  

The Wakiso District Labour Office had on April 21 invited representatives from Uganda Airlines and Mr Muleya for mediation in a case in which the former chief executive officer is seeking compensation over alleged illegal sacking.

Mr Muleya was sacked on February 15 after months of suspension over alleged mismanagement and corruption, among others. 

However, he challenges the sacking and is now seeking at least Shs3.3b in compensation or reinstatement into his job without prejudice. 

In an April 12 notice, Wakiso District Senior Labour Officer Celestine Muhumuza,  had invited the duo for mediation, warning that failure to comply would see the dispute referred to the Industrial Court for further handling. 

However, Mr Muhumuza yesterday told Daily Monitor that Uganda Airlines had not sent representatives for  two scheduled mediation meetings, leaving him with no option but to refer the matter to the Industrial Court.  

“The complainant came but Uganda Airlines did not appear, despite having  been served with summons and confirmed receipt … the matter will be referred to the Industrial Court,” he said.

Ms Rahim Shakila Lamar, the Uganda Airlines corporate affairs & public relations manager, yesterday, without giving details, told Daily Monitor: “The Attorney General’s office is handling the matter.”

Efforts to get a status update on the progress of the matter were futile by press time. 

However, Mr Waisswa Bageya, the Works and Transport permanent secretary, under whose office Uganda Airlines is supervised, said the Ministry had never been served with the summons, noting that government would  capitalise on this as a defence in court. 

“They never summoned us and we shall take exception of that in court (Industrial Court). They must produce evidence that they issued us with summons and somebody acknowledged receipt,” he said.  

Uganda Airlines has had run-ins with Mr Muleya since April 2020 when he was, together with six others, suspended from office.  

He has since sought intervention of court, noting that before he was sacked he was never given a fair hearing and his former employer or government has not refused to furnish him with details of the alleged investigations following his suspension and eventual sacking. 

Court internvetion         

In a March 28 letter wrote to Ministry of Works seeking compensation up to a tune of Shs3.3b being payment of salary arrears, gratuity, untaken leave, reimbursement for fuel, telephone and toll expenses, repatriation allowances and damages, among others. He also demand for immediate reinstatement into his job and “an unconditional apology for the material inconvenience, reputational damage and loss suffered”.

However, non of the above has been done, which explians the decision to see court internvetion.