A Hoima – based Kangabaije Advocacy for Community Development Action Agency (KACIDA) has petitioned the office of the Hoima Resident District Commissioner (RDC) over some companies’ act of laying off workers in this Covid-19 era.
The agency spokesperson, Mr Nicholas Mucakazi, says that the organisation is displeased with some companies that have of recent terminated the services of their employees in the face of the pandemic yet in his earlier state of the nation address about coronavirus pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni advised them against the action.
Despite this, many companies in the country have sacked their workers with some citing reduced revenue among others.
Mr Mucakazi is specific on SBC-a company that government contracted to construct the Hoima International Airport in Kabaale sub-county that laid off workers recently.
In April 2020, SBC halted construction work sending home more than 900 workers saying it did not have accommodation facilities at the construction site.
In its June 2020 statement about laying off its workers, the company claimed that there was inadequate space to enable workers observe social distance as required by the Health Ministry as well as reduced work load at the work station resulting into laying off 160 workers.
But Mr Mucakazi says that the agency finds the act as inappropriate at this time when Covid-19 is shattering the global economy. He wants the RDC to investigate the matter.
“Team Kangabaije has come out and petitioned the RDC over the matter. We urge all companies with projects here to devise all means possible to ensure that they consider the people of Bunyoro since some projects have bad side effects that will affect the people of Bunyoro in future. We want the RDC to investigate this matter [of laying off workers], the criteria used and who were laid off,” he says.
“Is it true that only Banyoro were sacked as it is being reported or others were also fired? As we talk about local content, what measures has the RDC’s office put in place to ensure that these people go back to their work or are enrolled for work to earn a living as youth?” Mr Mucakazi continues.
The agency publicist adds that some companies operating in the area are disregarding the local content strategy as laid out by the government.
He detests the alleged corruption involved in employing workers; telling off officers to work for a limited period of time and pave way for the new graduates if they cannot help them to get jobs.
Mr Mucakazi also appeals to Bunyoro – Kitara Kingdom officials to fight for the betterment of the area.
“There many reports that the youth are not supporting the government. But it should be noted that before the youth complete their studies, their parents spend a lot of money on them to the extent of selling off their property. All of a sudden after completing their studies, getting a job becomes a hurdle. For one to get a job, they have to give a kickback of at least Shs15 million. Do you expect such a person to perform better in office? They will have to first get back the money they paid as a bribe!” he says.
Adding: “Our elected leaders should take matter seriously. Make sure that graduates are employed and if you can’t manage it, serve for only five years and leave the offices for the graduates to also work. We shall continue condemning this as leaders. Actually on this matter, we appeal to the kingdom to also intervene. It is very bad!”
Mr Kassim Mugisa, a member of KACIDA urges all leaders in Bunyoro to come out and condemn the act of firing workers. He says time is now for them to fight against all problems hampering the development of the region.
The Hoima RDC, Mr Samuel Kisembo Araali, acknowledges receipt of the petition saying it is being assessed.