Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The labour dispute between Rick Ashaba and Top Media Consortium Limited, which belongs to Pastor Jackson Senyonga has moved to the Industrial court. The Commissioner for Labor in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development decided to refer the matter to the Industrial court on request from Ashaba’s legal team.
Ashaba ran to the labour office on May 4, 2021, for allegedly sacking him from his job as a presenter on Top Radio and TV for demanding more than Shillings 5 million in salary arrears. Since then, the labour office has been ‘begging’ top media managers led by Ronald Mubiru to show up for arbitration in vain.
After realizing that Top Media managers were unwilling to present themselves for arbitration, Ashaba wrote to the labour officer through his lawyers of Makada & Partner Advocates and Solicitors asking that the matter be referred to the Industrial court.
“This matter has taken almost a year ever since it was reported to you. No settlement or adjudication has been made on it. Therefore, relying on Section 5 of the Labour Disputes (Arbitration and Settlement Act, 2006) and Rule 3 of the Industrial Court Rules, we pray that you refer the matter to the Industrial Court for further management,” Ashaba/s legal team wrote to the labour officer on June 13, 2022.
The labour officer has since agreed with Ashaba’s lawyers indicating that indeed all efforts to have the matter resolved amicably have been futile.
“The complaint was referred to this office on 4th May 2021 for unfair termination and unpaid wages. All efforts to amicably resolve the matter through mediation have proved futile and the complainant desires the matter to be referred to the Industrial Court in accordance with Section 5 of the Labour Disputes (Arbitration and Settlement) Act, 2006,” Ministry of gender’s labour officer states.
Ashaba explains that he is not too poor to die for Shillings 5 million but he wants to stop Pr. Ssenyonga from exploiting media practitioners.
“For years, journalists have left Top Media crying and many have been sacked for demanding their wages. It looks like no one in this country can help the journalists. But I am determined to fight this impunity. I want to help the future journalists,” Ashaba explains.
From the time this case was brought to the attention of the labor ministry and media attention, the managers of Top Media do not respond to calls from journalists. Those who have attempted to approach them physically have been tossed up and down. However, Pastor Senyonga broke his silence on the matter in December last year when he accused Ashaba of being a liar during one of his sermons.
He said the Top Media consortium doesn’t owe Ashaba any monies.