Violation of Workers rights in Uganda has been attributed to government’s failure to implement policies and regulations that govern the labour sector in the country, Gideon Badagawa, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda has said.
Badagawa said Uganda has the best protective policies and regulations for workers but the government is not playing its role in enforcing them, something that has created a conducive environment for the employers especially in the private sector to exploit employees.
“Government needs to improve on enforcement of labour laws; this will compel investors in the private sector to respect the workers’ rights which are being infringed on,” he said.
Badagawa noted that non-enforcement of labour laws may limit the country from attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) especially eradicating poverty and hunger.
He was speaking during the 5th Annual Conference on Economic Social and Cultural Rights at Makerere University.
The conference was organized by Uganda Human Rights Commission at the School of Law Makerere University and a group of Non-Government Organizations.
The conference was premised on the 2030 agenda of leaving no one behind in implementing the SDGs, under the theme: Leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals to realize Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In Uganda during the conference participants blamed the private sector for exploiting Ugandan s through poor wage payments and other working in a poor environment.
Arnold Kwesiga from Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability said exploitation of workers by employers has negatively impacted Uganda to progress economically.
“Majority of the employees being employed in the private sector are working illegally (have no legal binding document) contracts; that is why they are paid poorly.
“How do you expect such an employee to overcome poverty - government need to come in and fight for the rights of Ugandan working in the private sector,” he said.
During the conference, it was discovered that most administrative units in the government (Local Governments) have not recruited District Labor Officers hence complicating the whole system of monitoring the private sector on workers’ rights.
“Many Local Governments across the country have not recruited labour officers who are responsible in enforcing labour laws in the country.
“Unless these officers are in place, labour policies and Laws will not be effectively enforced,” said Dustan Balaba, the Tororo District Chief Administrative Officer.
He noted that where they have been recruited, the officers are not properly remunerated, forcing many to accept bribes from investors who violate workers’ rights.
He cited the construction, mining sectors and in Commercial Agricultural estates especially in the tea and sugar Industries as the most affected.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO