10 July 2019

Uganda: Arab Contractor Workers Strike Over Poor Working Conditions

Pallisa — Works on the Tirinyi- Pallisa-Kumi road in Pallisa District came to a standstill on Monday after a section of workers attached to Arab Contractors Limited, laid down their tools protesting poor working conditions.

The tarmacking of 111.25KM road that links Teso and Lango Sub-regions, started early this year and will cost the government Shs304b.

But the striking workers mostly drivers and casual labourers said their rights are being abused by the contractor, whom they accuse of reportedly subjecting them to work overtime even on weekends.

They also said that the majority of their colleagues have been dismissed from work over non-issues and without any fair hearing. They also complained that many others have been forced to surrender their driving permits to the contractor without a proper explanation.

"We shall resume work when some of these concerns have been addressed because the conditions under which we are working are not human. There is a total violation of our rights," one of the workers, who preferred anonymity, said, calling upon workers' unions to intervene.

The Pallisa Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Emokol Onyango, confirmed that workers laid their tools over poor working conditions and little pay.

"They are not happy over several issues including being fired over justifiable reasons, but we are calling upon them to resume work as we engage the contractor for solutions," he said.

When contacted, the project manager, Mr Musitafa Elisakka, declined to comment on the matter.

The Pallisa Civil Society Organization [PACONET], chairman, Mr Paul Kosa condemned the continued abuse of workers' rights by the contractor, saying girls are also being sexually abused.

"We are appealing to the government to intervene because this has been ongoing, but nobody has come up to them our people," he said.


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