Government has been asked to amend existing laws and policies governing investors, in order to improve the working conditions of theemployees, many of whom are Ugandan nationals.
In a one-day stakeholders’ engagement, the participants raised concerns that the Investment Code of 2019 which could have been key in protecting workers’ rights and freedoms contain many loopholes which investors are using to exploit their employees.
Jane Nalunga the Executive Director SEATINI says there are ways to ensure safety and the wellbeing of workers without frustrating investments in the country.
“We want a win-win situation for investors, workers, the Environment as well as a win for the country. Development is about people and the two can’t be separated.” She said.
“When you look at our investment Code; it has no human rights impact assessment code at all and therefore we need to include it there.”
Apollo Onzoma the Assistant Commissioner Industrialization at Ministry of Gender revealed that all Districts, Municipalitie, Cities have Labour offices as provided for by the law, but that the challenge lies in lack of capacity to inspect all work places in a timely manner
“We need to ensure that all stakeholders are properly sensitized on the Labour laws and rights so that they get to know their importance in their day to day operations.”
He promised that following the amendment of Labour Disputes Arbitration and Settlement Act 2011, the number of cases handled by the industrial court will be increased.
Usher Wilson Owere the Chairman National Organization of Trade Union (NOTU) noted that in recent years, investors are being taken to be more important than the citizens.
” We all want investors in our country but at the same time we want to ensure that our rights are well protected and respected.”
From this engagement a suggestion was made that all stakeholders provide their views to ensure that a fair law is passed to this effect.
The meeting was held in Kampala under a theme “Harnessing Uganda’s Investment laws, policies and Agreements to prevent business related human rights violations.”