The contractors for Isimba Hydro electricity power dam in Kayunga and Kamuli districts have been tasked to improve the welfare of over 600 local workers currently employed by the Company.
The workers accuse the contractors-China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) of mistreatment including denial of access to protective gear at the dam site.
Speaking to a delegation that included the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Kadaga, Energy Minister Hon. Irene Muloni and Chinese Ambassador to Uganda H.E Zhao Yali on Monday February 16 2015, Soka Stephen, one of the lead workers, called for a pay rise from the current Ushs.6500/= per day paid to the local labour force.
In her response, Speaker Kadaga rallied all contractors to improve the working conditions of the local population that they employ.
“I have been told that the workers are on duty seven days a week, paid a meager salary, have no protective gear and lack toilet facilities. As contractors you need to address the needs of the population with urgency,” she urged the contractors.
The Speaker re-echoed the need for faster compensation of persons displaced by the dam construction project in order to win the confidence of the population.
H.E Zhao Yali the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda in his address to contractors and technical staff said miscommunication was one of the causes of misunderstanding between the workers and contractors.
“I think language barrier is affecting communication between both parties. I encourage the Chinese contractors to learn the local language as workers also learn some basic Chinese to improve communication,” he said.
H.E. Zhao Yali reaffirmed the commitment of the government of China to ensure completion of works on Karuma, Ayago and Isimba where Chinese firms are contracted.
Energy Minister Engineer Irene Muloni confirmed that Isimba Dam once completed in the next forty months will produce over 183 megawatts of hydro electricity and boost industrialization in the two districts of Kamuli and Kayunga.
She announced plans by government to replan the two districts where health centres, water supplies for the community and rural electrification projects will be undertaken.