Unions Demand For Industrial Courts

Trade Unions have asked government to expedite the setting of industrial courts to help resolve labor disputes. This comes amidst tension between teachers and government over a pay rise. Trade union officials say government has unnecessarily taken long appoint judges to the industrial court.

Ugandan primary school teachers hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration  in a protest against the government's failure to increase their salaries in an earlier strike.
Ugandan primary school teachers hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration in a protest against the government’s failure to increase their salaries in an earlier strike.

They believe this could be a deliberate action by government to frustrate workers attempts to push for better wages and working conditions. James Twheyo, the Secretary General of Uganda National Teachers Union wants the government to act immediately. Tweheyo says such delays only cause more problems to workers who do not have anywhere to go for redress.

He says should government have instituted industrial courts, the strike by the teachers wouldn’t have happened.

Mesilamu Oloka, the Deputy Secretary General National Organisation of Trade Unions says the absence of industrial courts has killed industrial relations in the country. He says this has led to confrontations between employers and their employees.

Oloka says they have been engaging government for close to 10 years to ensure that the court is set up. He says the other court systems cannot resolve disputes between workers and their employers because they lack the required skills.

He wants speedy resolutions so that issues affecting workers can be handled expeditiously. Simon Mugalu Kamya, the Commissioner for Labour, Industrial Relations and Productivity at the Ministry Of Gender, Labour and Social Development couldn’t be reached for a comment he was not in office when our reporter went there on Friday.

In the agreement signed between UNATU and the government subcommittee tasked with negotiating with the teachers, it is stated that the membership of the tribunal is already at the cabinet for approval and the judges for the industrial court are being recruited. However, the document does not give a time frame of when the court will become operational.

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