31 January 2013

Uganda: Crested Crane Hotel Staff On Strike

Over 70 employees of the Crested Crane Hotel and Tourism training Institute in Jinja have began a strike against what they call unfavorable working conditions.

Led by Adrian Ohala, the angry workers complain that their salaries are four months late. They accuse the institute's leadership of failing to address their concerns.

"The NSSF money that many of the workers have been remitting and that has deliberately been deducted from the hotel staff by the accountants is not reflected on the NSSF records," Ohala said.

The workers say they will not return to work unless their monthly salary arrears are paid.

"We are demanding our salary since October last year. We do not have money to pay house rent, water bills, yet we are supposed to send our children back to schools," Joy Talikaza, who works in the department of housekeeping, said.

But Poulah Mbowa, an accounts clerk at the hotel, said she has not been paid for over six months.

"Even if one asks for a salary advance of about [Shs 200,000], the accountant can only give not more than Shs 50,000.

However, Mbowa claimed that despite their situation, senior management paid themselves heftily. She also wondered what the institute's board was planning as every department has problems. David Namakola, the officer in charge of security, who has worked for two years, described the work conditions as inhuman.

"It is very funny that one has to first apply before he /she is approved to be given money by the accountant", said Namakola.

Efforts to contact the institution principal Namutosi Mariam were futile as she was reported to be attending a workshop in Kenya.

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