25 December 2012

Uganda: Angry Unpaid Workers Hold Employers Captive

Photo: New Vision
Awoya sub station: Rural Electrification gets Sh46 billion.

Workers of a renowned Kampala-based rural electrification consulting firm Sunday went on rampage and held their employers captive in protest of non-payment of salary and wages for the last six months.

The irate staff swiftly locked up the manager of Cable-Sult Civil and Electrical Engineering Company in his office on Friday and only released him on Monday.

The Director Finance and Technical, Mr Wycliff Ssebanulidde, was also put under lock and key when they failed to pay the workers on time as usual.

The furious employees accused their bosses of lending deaf ears to their complaints and requests for payment of the money they worked for in order to celebrate the festive season.

They said their bosses had been adamant to pay them for the last six consecutive months.

The demonstrating workers said they had been fixing electric poles in Kanungu, Kasese, Mbarara, Kamuli and Busunjju districts for the last six months without payment, with the firm promising to clear their arrears soon but to no avail.

"We have decided to go on strike because these people (firm) are not paying us yet we need to shop for Christmas and meet the high expectation of our families," complained a worker who preferred anonymity.

However, the barricades positioned by the workers on the roads surrounding the firm attracted the attention of Police who promptly swung into action and tried to remove them and find solution to the problem only to be met by stiff resistance from the demonstrators.

Police later found a middle ground with the workers, removed the barricades and released Ssebanulidde whom they ordered to address the workers and tell them when he would pay them.

Addressing the rioters, a shaken Ssebanulidde promised to pay the workers all their accumulated arrears that very day but asked for time to compute their actual wages which was granted.

Under the watchful eyes of the workers and police, Ssebanulidde later paid the workers at around 3:00pm after computing their salaries.

The workers then left the firm's premises delighted and praised the Police for coming to their rescue.

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