Security guards attached to Saracen Uganda Ltd yesterday pulled off a temporary industrial action where they demanded that the management cures a salary disparity.
The angry workers claim that they earn Sh140, 000 per month and that this meager salary is paid in installments of Sh80, 000 and then Sh50, 000 as opposed to the Sh500, 000 their counterparts who work for big companies like Tullow Oil Plc. and Total earn per month.
To show their discomfort, the workers poured in the road and attempted to block the entrance to the Saracen offices at Lugogo by-pass. They were clearly angry-throwing their hats down and raising their hands up-chatting 'we are tired, we want our salaries increased.'
"We are protecting billions, but earning Sh140, 000. I have a family. I pay rent. I pay fees for my children. We want a reasonable salary," Geoffrey Okello, one of the guards told New Vision.
The strike started at 5am.
According to Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the workers tried to force themselves inside the gate of the company but they were repulsed by the Saracen point guards, who shot in the air.
However, the workers used the scuffle to throw stones at the company property forcing the shooting in the air to escalate. This persistent shooting brought in the response from Police and the Special Forces Command (SFC).
"They were in a mob-like movement-trying to force themselves in the company premises. But the guards of the company premises shot in the air. This shooting attracted the Police's attention and that of the SFC," Kaweesi said.
Kaweesi said that when Police came, the workers had started to block the road while others were throwing stones at the property of the company.
"You don't destroy the property of the company that you are working for yet you want to get a salary increment," Kaweesi said.
To avert the tense situation, it took a meeting of Saracen officials and Police to calm the situation. During the meeting, the workers were allowed to share their grievances where it emerged that they were deeply concerned about the salary disparities between those in operations and guards of the top firms in town.
In the meeting, it was also revealed that the workers want salary increments before they could return to work.
The General Manager of Saracen, John Mugisha, promise to harmonise the salaries of these workers and also advised that the company will be providing food-lunch and super-for the guards on night shifts.
"I hope management is going to fulfill their promise to workers," Kaweesi said.