Politics

MPs decry poor working conditions, meagre salaries in factories

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Hon. Margaret Komuhangi right addressing the press

The Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development has advocated the use of the Occupational Safety and Health Inspection checklist.

In the brief to the press, the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Margaret Komuhangi (Nakasongola), said that during committees visit to Eastern Uganda, they noted that a number of employers running factories were not meeting the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Inspection checklist.

“It is important for the Occupational Safety and Health Inspection checklist to be upheld for the safety and good health of workers. It was very unsettling that people were working without protective gear leaving them exposed to all sorts of hazards,” Komuhangi said.

Komuhangi pointed out G.M Sugar Limited as one of the factories that had grossly failed to observe the occupational safety and health inspection guidelines.

“When we visited GM Sugar Limited we noticed that the workers were not wearing any shoes and did not have the proper clothing,” Komuhangi said.

Komuhangi further commended Nile Breweries Limited for its outstanding observation of the Checklist adding that the workers were happy and optimistic.

Komuhangi added that many companies did not have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. “This is a matter of life and death that the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development should work into for the sake of the safety of workers,” Komuhangi said.

The Chairperson added that the Committee discovered that casual labourers are being exploited in many places.

“Casual labourers are working beyond 8 hours with no leave breaks and without either promotions after six months; some have worked for over five years,” Komuhangi said.

She added that workers were being subjected to a salary as low as Ushs 100,000/= per month. She stated that in G.M. Sugar Limited for example, and may offer factories; there was no comprehensive health insurance for workers.

“All in all, we recommend that the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development negotiates for better conditions for workers,” Komuhangi concluded.

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