Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Over 50 employees of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd have laid down their tools in protest of low pay, denial of leave benefits and mistreatment by their employers.
A number of them say when they were recruited over a year back, they were put on a three month probation period on low pay with promise to be employed on full contract after probation. However, as full contract workers, some of them still earn the same amount of money they were paid while on probation.
Simon Turyamuheebwa worked as a turn man on one of the machines that was involved in an accident in the mountains of Kapchorwa killing a resident and the machine operator. He survived with injuries on his arm and the ribs and has been undergoing treatment at Case Clinic.
However, Turyamuheebwa says the company has since cut his salary and stopped caring for him as an employee on sick leave something they had initially committed to doing. He says he used to earn about Shillings 400,000, but now earns about Shillings 260,000.
He also said the company stopped transporting him to hospital like they used to. Turyamuheebwa has to transport himself from his home in Kulambiro to Case Clinic on Buganda road. He told Uganda Radio Network – URN that he has been asked to leave the job since he can no longer work efficiently.
Turyamuheebwa says he can no longer work efficiently and his bosses have now asked him to leave. He says he has sought compensation and termination benefits but in vain.
Isaac Nuwagaba, a crane operator says he also got an accident that damaged his arm. He says currently he cannot lift heavy things and instead the company has refused to compensate him.
Another employee Irenious Nhwera says the company does not pay their National Social Security Fund money and the few times the company has paid, it was done in a discriminatory manner.
He says since he joined the company in May 2019, the company has deposited NSSF payment for only two months for May 2019 and June 2020. He is afraid he will not have benefits at the end.
Jackson Rieko says last year in October he was given a contract clearly stipulating that he would receive Shillings 983 per hour for the time he would spend on probation and then raise to Shillings 1780 per hour when on full contract. But he says even after being confirmed on contract, he still receives Shillings 983 per hour and yet his contract will expire at the end of this month.
Ronald Odwong who works in the Laboratory section of China State says their Chinese bosses do not listen to their grievances and instead ask the workers who have complaints to quit. He says the government needs to intervene and ensure that such contractors do not mistreat Ugandans they employ.
The company is meeting with KCCA officials to see how to resolve the matter.